Parkways Authority OKs toll hike, new EZ Pass offer - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Parkways Authority OKs toll hike, new EZ Pass offer

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) A decision reached at meeting in Beckley on Thursday stands to impact just about every person who travels the West Virginia turnpike. 

During a meeting in Beckley, the West Virginia Parkways Authority voted to double the toll rate from $2-4 and offer a $24 EZ Pass that covers three years. 

According to West Virginia Parkways Authority General Mgr. Gregg Barr, the new plan will work on existing transponders and those who are new to the program will pay an additional $13. "We already have 45,000 people who have those. So we're just going to convert them over to the new program. They  don't have to get a new transponder." 

Revenue raised will pay for a bond to be sold in August that will benefit road projects in ten counties across Southern West Virginia. 

"For 24 dollars they can drive back and forth all they want for the next three years," added Barr. 

Del. Marty Gearheart, (R) Mercer County, raised concerns during Thursday's meeting over what happens after the three-year special is up.

"What happens in government is we take small bites. The EZ Pass legislation certainly will change when there are new legislators in place. You'll see that program morph and change and get more expense." 

The North Beckley toll plaza, where the turnpike intersects with U.S. Route 19, will be rounded up to a quarter, making it easier for drivers to dig for change.

Drivers must take advantage of the EZ Pass deal before January 1. Otherwise, it will cost $25 to receive unlimited use. 

The doubled toll fee will take effect on January 1, 2019. 

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