CHARLESTON — West Virginia Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr said the agency is getting the ball rolling on the process to sell bonds to finance roads projects.
In a Parkways meeting earlier this week, Barr said the board selected members of the working group so they can get to work on the bond project.
“Ultimately this will be a culmination of all efforts from this working group, engineers and consultants,” he said. “When the bonds are sold, at that time, we will be able to implement the new single-fee program and the new toll rate structure.
This is part of Governor Jim Justice’s roads project. Earlier this year, the governor signed into law two bills — Senate Bill 1003 and Senate Bill 1006.
The first bill gives Parkways the ability to issue revenue bonds to finance roads projects. Bonds connected to toll revenue are for projects in 10 southern West Virginia counties contiguous to the turnpike.
Barr said the $500 million in bonds can be generated from leveraging revenues of the West Virginia turnpike. He said this money can be deposited in a special state road construction account that the Secretary of Transportation can direct to be used for roads and bridge projects in these 10 counties — Raleigh, Fayette, Wyoming, Mercer, Kanawha, Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers, McDowell and Nicholas.
Senate Bill 1006 increases money in the State Road Fund. It increased the Division of Motor Vehicle fees, the privilege tax for purchasing a car and increased the minimum average of wholesale gas.
Legislation also includes the governor’s single-fee discount program for passenger cars. Justice has said in the past that he wants the program to cost $8 a year and be available to all West Virginians and out-of-state residents for unlimited use of the turnpike and any future toll roads.