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Super-discounted E-ZPass option complicating West Virginia Turnpike toll study


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A traffic and revenue study that will be instrumental in setting West Virginia Turnpike tolls increases to pay off a $500 million road bond issues is taking longer than expected to complete because of difficulties calculating the impact of a unique super-low priced unlimited use E-ZPass, the Parkways Authority general manager told Senate Finance Committee members Tuesday.

“It’s taking a little longer than expected to get done,” said Greg Barr, state Parkways Authority general manager. “It’s very difficult for them to put a number on as far as how many people will buy in.”

As part of his $2.8 billion “Roads to Prosperity” road-building package, Gov. Jim Justice called for Parkways to issue a “Mountaineers Ride Free” discounted E-ZPass for as little as $8 a year for unlimited Turnpike travel.

The Legislation authorizing the new round of Turnpike tolls specifies that the cost of the unlimited use pass can be between $8 and $25 a year — deeply discounted over the current $295 cost of an unlimited use Turnpike E-ZPass.

Barr said there is no precedent among toll roads nationally for such a low-price E-ZPass.

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