(Benwood, WV) Today, West Virginia House of Delegates member Joe Canestraro (D-Marshall) announced his intention to introduce several pieces of legislation to increase funding for secondary road repairs in counties where oil and natural gas activities and production are on-going.
The legislative initiatives aimed at increasing funding for secondary road repairs include:
1.) A bill increasing the severance tax percentage on oil and natural gas from 5% to 7.5%.
2.) The re-introduction of a bill that was introduced several years previously by former Delegate Mike Ferro, now a county commissioner in Marshall County that re-allocates and dedicates up to $30 million dollars from the oil and natural gas severance tax revenues annually to the natural gas and oil producing counties of origin, which is then distributed based on a pro-rata share of the amount produced to be used exclusively to fix secondary roads.
3.) A bill to collect a user fee annually from oil and gas companies who use secondary roads in a county which will then be distributed back to those counties for use in repairing secondary roads. This “user fee” would replace the current “performance bond” system in which the state has not been successful in collecting from those companies using our roads.
Delegate Canestraro will introduce these pieces of legislation due to the deplorable and dangerous conditions of secondary roads in his district and those affected by oil and gas activities. “Marshall County alone has over 700 road slips needing repair, and the State of West Virginia does not have adequate funding to keep our secondary roads in a safe condition”, said Delegate Canestraro.
“The truth is there are secondary roads in my district that are not safe for school bus and emergency vehicle travel. These pieces of legislation are about the safety of our children and our residents,” Canestraro commented.
“The “Roads to Prosperity” program pushed by Governor Justice fails to address our secondary roads which have suffered due to weather, increased volume and weight of traffic due oil and gas operations and lack of funding. These bills address the lack of funding without placing the burden on our citizens via increased taxation,” said Delegate Canestraro.
Canestraro urges all citizens, not only in his district, but in other areas of the State with crumbling and dangerous secondary roads to contact Speaker Hanshaw and others in leadership to run these bills to fund repairs of our secondary roads.