The state's Blue Ribbon Highways Commission says the Division of Highways needs $672.6 million more each year just to maintain current conditions. It would need $850 million more a year to bring roads and bridges up to standards.
Finding No. 2 was that the public is the only conceivable source for it.
Many West Virginians travel long distances to work. They want excellent roads.
But they're going to need proof that the state cannot possibly redirect any existing revenue streams to support the Road Fund and has absolutely no choice but to:
* Increase the consumer sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to generate $200 million more each year. (Tall order now that municipalities may also charge sales taxes.)
* Create a "West Virginia Transportation Fund using (higher) Turnpike tolls, and making cuts to the state Parkways Authority to come up with $50 million.
* Increase vehicle sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent to generate another $37.2 million a year. (That would add $300 to the price of a $30,000 car.)
* Raise vehicle registration fees from $28.50 to $49 to raise $26 million a year, and raise title fees from $5 to $40 to pull in another $19 million a year.
* And come up with an additional $250 million a year from other sources.
The commission might want to tack a couple of other questions onto its to-do list:
How many West Virginians could afford to part with this much money?
And how do the state's prevailing wage formulas affect highway construction costs again?