WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


Proposed Highways Study
Senate Bill Wants To Finance Study To Look For Alternative Ways To Finance Road Repairs
April 9, 2013

EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO
C L I C K   T O   P L A Y
West Virginia has tens of thousands of miles of state-owned public roads. Money to pay for repairs and paving comes from the fuel tax which goes into the state road fund. At more than 33 cents a gallon, West Virginia has the 10th highest gas tax in the country.

But, tough economic times and more fuel efficient vehicles means less money for the road fund.

The state senate passed a bill which would spend $250,000 to study alternative ways to pump money into the road fund. One avenue that's been discussed would put GPS devices in every vehicle. That way, the state could use satellites orbiting the earth to track how many miles you drive. The tax you pay would depend on how much you travel.

But that's raising privacy concerns.

"Well the GPS in automobiles, of course it looks like it could be invasion of privacy," Delegate Ron Walters of Kanawha County said. "They want to track your mileage so that every time you fill up you'll pay a gas tax based on mileage. And there's so many other things in West Virginia we need to look at before we go invading someone's privacy."

"The idea of putting GPS systems in private citizen's cars?" Delegate Suzette Raines of Kanawha County said. "I mean from a privacy standpoint from a cost standpoint I just don't see, I just don't understand how this could be feasible."

The bill made its way out of the senate and was sent over to the house where it died in the Roads and Transportation Committee on a tie vote. Usually that's the end of the story, but apparently to quote the movie "The Princess Bride" this bill was only "mostly dead." The committee reconsidered it and passed it along a straight party line vote. It's obvious someone wants this bill to pass and we don't know where the pressure is coming from. But we do know this. The bill's main sponsor in the senate is Robert Plymale of Wayne County. Plymale is also affiliated with the Rahall Transportation Institute in Huntington. And yes, there is a possibility that the Rahall Transportation Institute would conduct the quarter-million dollar highway study.

Besides big brother using eyes in the sky to know exactly how much and where you are driving there's also the price tag for the proposed study. The governor has ordered across the board spending cuts of seven and a half percent and an executive branch hiring freeze because state tax collections are almost 50-million dollars behind estimates.

Right now, the bill is in the House Finance Committee.

"There seems to be quite a bit of push back from our members as far as personal liberties and I think it is a big issue," Delegate Harry Keith White, Finance Committee Chairman from Mingo County said. "Obviously, you know West Virginians, we like to remain free as long as we can and it doesn't look to me like that would be an issue that would get a whole lot of traction this session."

Republican delegates who are critical of the plan say if paving roads was a priority, then democrats could find ways to pay for it without an expensive new study.

"The money is already in the budget and can be found," Raines said. "If we can find money to increase the salary of the DHHR director to $175,000, which is a bill I was an absolute no vote on, then we can find money to repair secondary roads."

"It's just a way to continue to get an increase in the gas tax without really telling you that's what it is," Walters said.

We want to know what you think about this proposed study. Use this address to go to our Facebook page and join in on the conversation.

https://www.facebook.com/eyewitnessnewscharleston?ref=ts&fref=ts




Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

LINKS

More Waste Watch Stories

Waste Watch February 25, 2014
Armored Vehicle Flap
Armored Vehicle Purchase By Huntington Police Considered Waste By Some Waste Watch Video

Waste Watch February 14, 2014
State BOE Hires
New Staffers Will Make More Than $250,000 In Salary Waste Watch

Waste Watch November 21, 2013
Judge William Watkins
Disgraced Former Putnam County Judge Set To Retire And Receive His Benefits Waste Watch

Waste Watch November 12, 2013
Levy Election Costs
School And Library Question Has $300,000+ Price Tag Waste Watch

Waste Watch November 7, 2013
Cost of Corruption
Mingo County Wrongdoing May Take Millions And Years To Correct Waste Watch

Waste Watch November 5, 2013
Tossed Technology
Critics Claim County Is Wasting Money, Technology Waste Watch

Waste Watch October 24, 2013
Alleged Scam
Former FSU Administrator Accused Of Stealing State Money Waste Watch

Waste Watch October 23, 2013
Obamacare Website Woes
Local Website Developer Also Finds Headaches With Government Healthcare.gov Site Waste Watch

Waste Watch October 7, 2013
Baisden Resigns
Mingo County Commissioner Steps Down And Forfeits $10,000 In Salary Waste Watch

Waste Watch September 29, 2013
Swinefest
Officials Can't Account For How Festival Money Was Spent Waste Watch

Waste Watch September 25, 2013
Medicaid Report
Auditors Say More Could Be Done To Stop W.Va. Medicaid Fraud Waste Watch




Do you know about wasteful spending? Email Us: EMail news@wchstv.com
Tell us about it Online or call us: 304-346-1147








Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.