Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Just read about Delegate Marty Gearheart’s “mission to eliminate all turnpike tolls” (Daily Telegraph Feb. 16) and I would like to comment on his mission. First, I was excited to read that his bill “provides a funding source for maintenance to the turnpike by the Division of Highways for some time,” but after reading the complete article I am not sure what exactly is his source for funding? If it come from the Division of Highways does this mean that highway monies will decrease, causing other highways to be neglected, possibly in southern West Virginia?
Also, I can’t imagine other delegates just standing by and allowing highway money to come to southern West Virginia while shortchanging their districts. Remember, it has been clearly demonstrated that once you remove a funding source, money needs to come from somewhere to replace it or you have created a real mess (remember the problem created in Virginia by a Republican governor who removed a tax without a thought to how the money, generated from this tax, was going to be replaced). I would like to see more specific information about his funding source before any tolls are removed.
Secondly, what happens to the toll workers displace by removing the tolls? Currently they have good paying jobs but once eliminated, where do they find similar jobs in southern West Virginia? The answer is that most won’t be able to find similar jobs because they simply don’t exist here. So, does this mean they go on welfare? I feel, in his excitement to remove these tolls, he has not clearly thought this whole matter through to a logical conclusion.
I would suggest that he and the other southern West Virginia legislative representatives first work to bring sources of good paying jobs to this area before removing tolls and throwing a whole lot of people out of work and into unemployment.