FISCAL NOTE

Date Requested: January 26, 2016
Time Requested: 11:25 AM
Agency: WV PARKWAYS AUTHORITY
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
1332 Introduced HB4022
CBD Subject: Roads and Transportation


FUND(S):

Toll Road Revenues

Sources of Revenue:

Other Fund Toll Road Revenues

Legislation creates:

Neither Program nor Fund



Fiscal Note Summary


Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.


    This bill does not affect the general revenue of the State of West Virginia. The West Virginia Turnpike is operated and maintained by the Parkways Authority with Turnpike toll revenues paid by the users of the highway. Thus, no State tax or general revenue dollars are used in the maintenance or operation of the Turnpike or in paying debt service on Turnpike bonds issued by the Authority.
    



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2016
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2017
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 0 0
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 0 0
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0


Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):


    See Fiscal Note Summary above for information regarding the fiscal impact of this bill on the State of West Virginia.



Memorandum


    The West Virginia Parkways Authority’s Customer Service Center already provides discounts for all classes of vehicles that travel on the West Virginia Turnpike and use a West Virginia E-ZPass transponder for electronic toll collection. There are two discount plans available for Class 1 passenger vehicles. Discount Plan #1 is for the daily commuter driving to and from work, school, etc. and is a frequent user of the Turnpike. The cost is $95.00 per year or $25.00 per quarter for each toll plaza and provides unlimited travel on the West Virginia Turnpike. This plan can be purchased for one, both or all three toll plazas depending on the need of the customer. This plan provides up to 90% savings in toll rates for the high frequency user. If a student drives the Turnpike five days a week, this plan would reduce their toll charge from a $2.00 per plaza cash rate to a $0.20 per plaza E-ZPass rate. Discount Plan #2 is for customers who drive the Turnpike occasionally, but still want to receive a discount. These customers can sign up for a West Virginia E-ZPass at a cost of $5.00 per year, then pre-pay funds via credit card into their account ($20.00 minimum account balance). This discount program provides a 35% savings in toll rates (from a $2.00 cash rate to a $1.30 discounted rate per plaza). The toll will be automatically deducted from the pre-paid account as you drive through the toll plazas. The West Virginia E-ZPass is available to anyone, regardless of state or country of residence. With either of these plans, travel is unlimited and no toll is charged at the North Beckley, Route 19, toll plaza.
    
    The West Virginia Parkways Authority is governed by its enabling legislation, its bond trust indentures and a Tri-partite Agreement between the Authority, the Federal Highway Administration and the West Virginia Division of Highways. The covenants of these agreements strictly govern the collection and expenditure of toll revenues, but do not affect the General Revenue of the State of West Virginia.
    
    The trust indentures do not permit the toll collection schedule to be altered unless certain traffic engineering studies are performed and debt coverage tests have been met. These requirements were established to protect the bondholders’ investment, to ensure adequate revenues to maintain and operate the Turnpike and to provide for future capital needs of the Turnpike. It is important to understand that no Federal or State funds of any type are used to operate or maintain the West Virginia Turnpike. Every penny spent on the operation, maintenance and upkeep of the Turnpike comes from toll revenues. The Authority receives no tax dollars from any source.
    
    Exempting or providing special rates for a particular class, special interest group or agency would be precedent setting and place the Authority in a position of collecting tolls on a basis of subjectivity.
    
    If the Authority were to offer a “special” discount plan for workers and students, there would be no way of monitoring how many days a week they travel between their home and their work site or their college or to ensure that the discount plan was not being used for personal gain. This bill proposes a special discount rate for workers and students traveling to and from work or school at least three times a week. And again, there is the matter of providing free toll passage for a particular class or special interest group as opposed to other worthy causes (ambulance, fire trucks, hospitals, school buses, funerals, medical treatments, and other charitable groups). (It is important to note that tolls are not charged to emergency vehicles responding to emergencies).
    
    Lastly, it is important to note that pursuant to West Virginia Code §17-16A-29(b), the Parkways Authority is required to provide public notice and hold public hearings on any proposed discount program as required in section 13a of this article prior to implementation of such program.
    



    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Gregory C. Barr, General Manager
    Email Address: gbarr@wvturnpike.com