New fee could pay for road construction

By Emily Corio 

A federal transportation official will be in Morgantown Thursday night to talk to the public about ways to pay for new roads.  The growth in Morgantown and Monongalia County has lead to roads that are clogged with traffic. 

Chet Parsons is Director of the Greater Morgantown Metropolitan Planning Organization.  His group recently developed a twenty year road-improvement plan.  

“We have in a budget that we’ve worked out with the state, we’re estimating about two-hundred and 30 million dollars worth of projects. That’s greatly reduced from the actual need which is up closer to five hundred to six hundred million.  It was reduced because the 230 is the amount we could reasonably expect over that 20 year time period,” Parsons said. 

Parsons says there just isn’t enough state and federal money for road construction. That’s way local officials want to here about other options, like a county wide user fee.   Parsons says this is one topic that will be discussed at Thursday night’s meeting.  

“The way it would work here in this region is that it would be a county wide user fee, which was approved in the ‘06 legislature.  It would be used to purchase bonds that would go towards funding construction projects rather than paving,” Parsons said. 

Parsons says people who work in the county would pay one to two dollars a week.  The user fee proposal could go before Monongalia County voters this fall.  The presentation on user fees and other road funding options is Thursday evening at six o’clock in WVU’s Erickson Alumni Center.

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