CHARLESTON – The Senate took major steps to address West Virginia’s infrastructure needs this week, passing three pieces of legislation that are directly dedicated to fixing roads.
Senate Bill 12, relating to the County Local Powers Act, and Senate Joint Resolution 1, the County Economic Development Amendment, passed unanimously. Senate Resolution 1 proposes a constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot in 2016 that would allow the state’s voters to choose whether county commissions are authorized to allocate and spend a portion of property taxes for infrastructure and capital improvements. Senate Bill 12 works in conjunction with the Joint Resolution.
“This is a jobs bill,” Senator Kent Leonhardt, R-Monongalia, said. “This empowers local government, it addresses a critical need our counties have to repair and maintain their roads, and it simply will put people to work. As Senators, one of the issues we are most approached by our constituents about is fixing our roads. With our passage of this bill and resolution, we have done our duty to make this a reality.”
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 555, which would provide for a three-cent increase on the sale of fuel when the wholesale cost is less than $2 per gallon.
Senator Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, amended into the bill provisions of Senate Bill 610, relating to generating and maintaining revenue for maintenance of roads and infrastructure. That bill would generate more than $283 million in new revenue for the state, and would dedicate a portion of consumer sales and service tax proceeds to the State Road Fund.
The amendment was accepted on a voice vote.
“West Virginians continue to be concerned – justifiably so – with the decaying conditions of the roads and highways throughout our state. Damaged highways are causing damages to vehicles and costing vehicle owners for unforeseen repairs and lost wages,” Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, said. “When we consider that the net impact of this legislation will result in job promotion, stimulate aspects of our economy and lessen the frustration of and expense to our motorists, this legislation will truly benefit all of West Virginia.”
The bills are pending before committees in the House of Delegates.