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.”