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West Virginia Parkways Authority bond sale likely this spring


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A first round of Parkways Authority bonds — $120 million to $125 million of the $500 million of total bonds authorized — will be ready to go to market in late April or early May, Parkways General Manager Greg Barr said Thursday.

The next milestone toward the bond sale comes Feb. 1, when the authority will receive a Traffic and Revenue study, which will outline West Virginia Turnpike toll increases needed to pay off the bond issue over 25 years, and to recommend a price point for deeply discounted EZ-Pass transponders providing unlimited use of the Turnpike for passenger vehicles.

In pushing his highway construction program, Gov. Jim Justice advocated for an $8 annual fee for the EZ-Pass — a fraction of the current $285 cost — while the legislation passed last June sets the price at no more than $25 a year.
Barr said Thursday that the traffic study is analyzing the impact of three flat fee rates — $8, $15 and $25 — to project sales of EZ-Pass transponders at each price point, and determine the amount of additional tolls that would be necessary to offset losses on the discounted passes.

“Right now, it’s too soon to say where we’re at on the final projected numbers,” Barr said, adding, “At the February meeting, we’re going to have to adopt a preliminary toll schedule, and flat-rate schedule, and notice public meetings.”

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