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MetroNews staff photo

The West Virginia Highway Department wants to find another way to tax motorists for using the state’s roads.

Currently West Virginians, like motorists in most states, pay a tax on each gallon of gas they buy. In West Virginia it’s 35 cents.

However, state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox says increased fuel efficiency means gas consumption has leveled off, and so has the revenue necessary to build and maintain the state’s roads.

“You can look back at the last ten years; our revenues remain flat while our costs have increased 30 percent,” Mattox said, “and looking ahead for the next six years at the figures the state Tax Department has provided us it continues to be flat and actually starts declining.”

Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill being pushed by Mattox that calls on the Highway Department to study different ways to generate money for roads. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.

Mattox is particularly interested in a system where motorists are taxed based on the number of miles traveled. The goal would be to tie taxes more closely to usage and raise more money for roads

“That is something that Oregon originated a few years ago” with pilot projects, Mattox said. “That’s something we would like to explore in a little more detail to see if it’s applicable to West Virginia.”

He says there are a couple different ways to monitor miles traveled: inspection stations could record the miles from year to year or a GPS device could be installed in each vehicle.

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  • sam

    I bet all the senators roads are in good shape.

  • 2XLPatriot

    Prison labor would be a good start. We pay to keep these worthless citizens in prison, give them 3 hot meals a day and free medical care. Put them to work! A few guards with shotguns and prisoners on a chain gang can get a lot accomplished. Let them earn their keep. A 12 hour workday never hurt anyone and just might teach some the value of a hard days work.

  • 2XLPatriot

    Most of our roads are not properly maintained to begin with. When they finally do come to repave, they are in such bad shape, it costs more. We're a little over a year away from elections........Some of the roads will get a nice thin "paint job" of asphalt for show and tell during campaigning.

  • sam

    Maybe cut spending at the top of WVDOH and other state Agencies. These people are getting paid too much for the jobs and actual work that they do. I know several that try and justify their salaries within the state. Most of them should have been sent to the pasture a long time ago. Have a mandatory retirement of people with 25 or more years within the state system. New ideas, better people are promoted at less cost. Most people who work for the state cannot afford to retire because thety cannot afford the peia insurance cost of retirees.

  • Joseph Stalin

    I fully approve of this movement.

  • MrJ

    If we want new roads and want to maintain those we have, then we have to be prepared to pay for them in some way.

  • jethro

    dave had good ideas

  • jethro

    joe stalin would be so proud!

  • Tom

    While I agree with almost every one of the previous rants, someone smarter than I needs to come up with a solution. Bashing a bad proposal is ok but have another option in hand when you do it.

  • mike

    If 6 workers didn't watch the one actually working, we could drastically improve efficiencies which would reduce costs to the state.

    • GSCsBB1

      If that state actually gave their employees what they need to do the job they wouldn't have this problem. Have you don't the job before? Do you know what they have to work with? I have! If not shut up about it.

    • DH

      Thank you Mike... I was scrolling down through emails and going to suggest taking the sleeping cots out of the back of the truck cab! How many times have you seen 5 DOH employees sitting in a truck at 5:45 pm waiting on what??? Overtime maybe???

  • Jim

    The "hairbrained" suggestions by Paul Maddox confirms that "trickledown" now not only applies to economics, but also to "Big Brother" is watching. And, in this case instead of "Big Brother" in the form of feds, it's the state government. Reporting vehicle mileage driven in a previous year by state inspection stations??? Installing GPS on all vehicles registered in WV???
    Two observations: first, if these suggestions are not a glaring example of more blatantant gov't intrustion in the lives of private citizens then, we deserve this. Second, if these approaches are the best ideas Mr. Maddox has, and, one would assume that he would put his best approaches before the legislature and public, he is devoid of any rational approach to problem solving.
    Finally, the state legislature has to pass a bill "authorizing" the DOH to study alternative financing methods??? Mr. Maddox can you spell PROACTIVE?

  • josh

    Yeah this is a great idea while we are at it let's tax everything else we do like drinking water... what is wrong with people raising the gas tax people earning minimum wage cant hardly afford to go to work now. Why don't we bust down a couple more unions then we will have no minimum wage. Maybe we should look at the dead beats that are using the system. Make some of these dead beats go get a job

    • GregG

      Yea, and while are elected officals are trying to milk every dime they can from the working man/woman, these wonderful religious organizations are tax exempt! If the Church were to pay the share of city, county, state and federal taxes maybe many of these items, such as "roads", wouldn't be so desperate for money. Being that the church can't seem to keeps it nose out of our government, I think it is about time they start paying up! Long overdue is more like it!

  • NCWV

    Putting miles on the car doesn't necessarily mean those miles were put on in WV. Many people in border counties work in a neighboring state and put most of their miles on there - and buy their gas there. I agree that we need to raise the gas tax if it's necessary, but make sure the money is put to good use.

    And here's another thought - maybe if the jobs were in WV, more people would be working inside the state and buying their gas here.

  • Dave

    I am FULLY against this idea.

    1. RAISE the fuel tax if needed.

    2. REDUCE COSTS within the agency.

    3. Look at the states that border us, MD and VA have recently decided to raise the fuel tax. They also, use less state workers and contract out snow removal and other items that can be managed more efficiently by private construction contractors than public employees with unions.

    • GSCsBB1

      Do you really think that will be cheaper? A traffic control employee makes $10-$11 an hour working for the WVDOH. A contract employee with the same job makes almost twice that. There is NO WAY that would save WV money.

      • Dem_Eers

        GCS. that traffic control employee also makes a bunch of benefits and pension, and let's be honest, they make much more than $11 per hour after a year or two.

        Contract employees, on the other hand, don't get those nice perks, and cost much LESS than a comparable government worker--especially a government union worker.

        If you honestly believe you SAVE money by paying government employees, I have a bridge over the New River to sell you!

      • Thomas

        State employees make less per hour but they also get paid all winter when construction is shut down and when rained out etc. You also have to factor in retirement, efficiency etc.

        When a contract job is completed the state does not have to keep paying employees who they may not have work for, there is no long term costs like disability or retirement.

        Simply saying that private companies cost more because hourly rates are higher is not valid.

      • Geno

        You are wrong, hourly rates are set by the state, therefore the contractor uses the rate required by the state, which is always a union scale, also the state pays their flagman 33.00 dollars per hour, this has a lot to do with it, W.Va pays a great deal more than other states.

  • steve

    govt putting a gps device in your vehicle. Yeah, that seems like a great idea. How does this moron have a job?

    • Roger

      There's people in government like him everywhere.