Kokosing Construction
U.S. Route 35 in Putnam and Mason counties still lacks 15 miles of widening to be completed.

State Senate President Jeff Kessler said West Virginians and state lawmakers need to accept the reality of a tax increase to pay for maintenance and improvements of the state’s roads.

“Quite frankly, unless somebody has a better way, it’s going to have to be a gas tax, a user fee, or an allocation of general revenue money,”  said Kessler. “Wherever it comes from, make no mistake about it, it’s about cold, hard cash.”

A tax increase of any kind is not a subject those at the capitol want to talk about.  Kessler said his colleagues under the dome need to accept the fact a tax increase is the only way to tackle the growing problem of crumbling bridges and roads and the beleaguered state road fund.

“If it means raising the gas tax a penny or whatever to get it done, I truly believe most people won’t mind payting it,”  Kessler said. “They’d much rather pay it than pay $150 for a new alignment every six months.”

Road construction is at a near standstill in the state and in the past couple of years the Department of Transportation has been tight for funds to even complete the most basic highway repairs.   Kessler supports a tax increase to replenish the road money and is encouraging support among colleagues.

“Let’s not be afraid of the ‘T-word’,” said Kessler. “It’s money and we need to have an adequate source of revenue to get the job done.”

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  • John

    Ok no new tax increases, lets listen to all you whiny Libnecks continue bitching about poor road conditions,then when they start a plan to fix the problems its " but no we dont want have to pay for it". Great socialist logic, get something for nothing. Its no wonder WV is such a poor state, because of bunch of moochers and leaches live in it that dont want to pay for anything but cigarettes and beer.

    • derek

      John first of all I'm not a Libneck I am one the most conservative people you will ever meet!
      But the cost of living keeps going up and up and wages keep going down so therefore I for one cannot stand for anymore tax increases of any kind! We are barely getting by now and I work sixty plus hours a week! Our elected officials have mismanaged the money they been intrusted with to keep our roads and bridges repaired! Enough is Enough!!!!

  • Michael

    If construction is at a standstill and only the most basic repairs are being made, is their entire budget being spent on salaries for people who don't get anything accomplished?

  • Jeff

    Mr. Kessler if you want to save millions of dollars in state road funds then stop the wastefulness of the people who work for the state. Just the other day (Sunday) I saw a stateroad truck hauling someones firewood, who pays for that? How many times has anybody ever gone in a Go-mart or Wal-mart and see a stateroad truck running in the parking lot and see the driver shopping for their own needs. Stop the waste and save $$$

  • Charlie

    The only to get money is to tax the working people thats left in wv thanks dem

  • derek

    I urge everyone to contact your Senator in there respective districts and demand no more tax increases!

    • John

      Yeah, because you have to have money for tobacco and alcohol , it is racing season.

  • zerotolerance

    Don't forget the 13 MILLION dollar Rest Stop just above Clarksburg on I-79. The old one sure were decrepit and of little use. SIX AND ONE HALF MILLION DOLLARS PER SIDE!

    Shouldn't it have a pool, roller coaster, a Starbucks and oh yes toilets.........


    • Robert

      If it did indeed cost $6.5 million per rest area then I have a problem as well. Nothing against improving the facilities but that number seems excessive.

  • Celeg

    So why the push to build yet another underutilized superhighway in the form of Corridor H when we can't maintain the roads we have now?

  • Robert

    How many highways have we broken ground for, paved a few miles of then the remaining work is simply on paper waiting for funding while at the same time existing nearby roads and bridges are crumbling? Too many.

    How much highway funding is wasted or spent for favor? The Fairmont Gateway Connector wouldn't have been built had it not for the political connections that county and city have.
    Sure it's a nice road but to downtown Fairmont? All those existing homes and businesses were destroyed so that a small city could have uber access and a do-over for development along the road's path?

    Road building and maintenance in this state has become nothing more than a political slush fund, I have trouble with the idea of finding ways to increasingly fill the pot.

  • derek

    I say no to any tax increase what have they done with all the money they have collected over the years from the tax on gasoline already? Everywhere I have traveled in our great state I see roads that are crumbling! There hasn't been any significant paving on most of our roads in the past eight years, so where has the money gone?

    • John

      Pay for teacher raises so we can sit 48th in the country in education for the 10th year running.

    • Robert

      It's gone to start new road projects so that politicians can have ribbon cutting ceremonies.

  • MyView

    Kessler from the northern part of the state, so it will be the same ol WV policy all pay the taxes and the north gets the better roads, schools more delegates, senators, and what does the south higher taxes

  • Alum

    Here's a novel thought - look at all the social spending, which the government should not be doing, and consider using some of that money.

    One thing about government, and the Feds prove this, its tentacles run deep and it is never fiscally satiated.

  • steve

    has anyone stopped to do the math on how much revenue the turnpike tolls generate?-its in the millions and still thump, thump from beckley to charleston...doubt a tax hike will improve our roads if the tax increase is any indication on how well the turnpike is maintained..................

    • Michael

      I drive on the Turnpike and Route 60 each day. While it could be improved, the Turnpike is smooth as glass compared to Route 60.

  • Jody Murphy

    Not a fan of additional gas taxes. The state tax on that is too high already! How about putting up some toll booths? We don't need three or four every few miles - as the state has on I-77 between Charleston and Princeton - but a few on the state's major arteries along the borders should be considered.
    It's funny there isn't a toll road in the state north of Charleston.

  • Overtaxed

    We wouldn't mind paying it if so much of the current revenue wasn't used for unnecessary programs. People having a difficult time need help, but we cannot give money to those not willing to work.

  • Ron Short

    Taxing residents to up keep & build new roads wouldn't leave such a bad taste in our mouth if we could count on ANY STATE AGENCY to use that $ efficiently.
    Btw when is the coalfield expressway going to be complete? I'll be 42 this year and I don't think I'll see it complete in my lifetime.