|Date Requested:February 01, 2010
Time Requested:02:57 PM
| FUND(S) |
Sources of Revenue
|Other Fund New Toll Road Revenues|
Legislation creates:Neither Program nor Fund
Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.
| It is anticipated that this bill will not affect General Revenue funds of the State of West Virginia but rather would provide an alternate source of funding for new highway construction and maintenance. The bill does this by allowing tolling and issuance of toll revenue bonds for new highway projects, that is, new projects off of and apart from the West Virginia Turnpike. The bill is designed to relieve financial strain on the Division of Highways revenue sources and to address the significant decrease in and limited availability of federal funding for new highway construction. Any new toll roads developed in connection with this bill will be funded with toll revenues paid for by users of that particular toll road.
Thus, this bill anticipates that no State tax or general revenue dollars will be used in the maintenance or operation of any new toll roads or in paying the debt service on future bonds issued by the Authority. Any maintenance performed by the Division of Highways on any new toll road, would entitle the Division of Highways to be reimbursed from toll revenues. Existing revenue refunding bonds issued in connection with the West Virginia Turnpike and payable from Turnpike toll revenues would not be affected or changed in any way if this bill were to pass. No financial impact on the operation and maintenance of the West Virginia Turnpike is anticipated.
The Parkways Authority’s revenue bonds and revenue refunding bonds are, by statute, deemed not to constitute a debt or obligation of the State or of any such political subdivisions. Neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the state or any political subdivision is pledged to the payment of the principal of or the interest on Parkways Authority bonds. This legal status of all Parkways Authority bonds is confirmed in the bonds themselves and in related bond documents (including the applicable indenture of trust and supplemental indentures). Any new toll revenue bonds would enjoy the same status.
In 2006, the Parkways Authority legislation was amended to remove the bonding authority of the West Virginia Parkways Economic Development and Tourism Authority as it pertained to new money bonds for new projects. The 2006 amendments thus prohibited the issuance of new money bonds for construction improvements, enlargements or extensions of any kind, whether for West Virginia Turnpike projects or for any other projects including economic development and tourism projects. Currently, existing Parkways Authority bonds can only be refinanced (refunded), but any refunding bonds cannot increase the outstanding principal and cannot extend the final maturity of the bonds being refunded.
Passage of this proposed legislation would retain the prohibitions on new bonds for Turnpike projects and economic development and tourism projects but would restore bonding authority to the West Virginia Parkways Authority for non-Turnpike parkway projects as defined in the legislation. Again, this bill would not affect the existing West Virginia Parkways Economic Development and Tourism Authority and the outstanding bonds issued in connection with the West Virginia Turnpike.
Finally, this bill would eliminate the Parkways Authority’s ability to do any new economic development and tourism projects with the exception of an ongoing project to allow private development of the approximately 60 acres of land of the Authority adjacent to the Tamarack arts and crafts/conference center in Beckley. In this regard, the name of the Authority also would be changed to eliminate the reference to “economic development and tourism”.
|Effect of Proposal||Fiscal Year|
|1. Estmated Total Cost||0||0||0|
|Repairs and Alterations||0||0||0|
|2. Estimated Total Revenues||0||0||0|
3. Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):
Effect of proposal unknown at this time (see further explanation below).
| The Department of Transportation (DOT) has U.S. Route 35 under construction, but has run out of funds with 14.6 miles of construction remaining. HNTB, a consulting engineering firm, has completed a feasibility study that determined Rt. 35 could operate as a toll road to pay for debt service on a bond issue and pay for the cost of construction, maintenance and toll operation. The WVDOT has an agreement from the Federal Highway Administration to toll approximately 30 miles of U.S. Route 35. This bill would authorize the renamed West Virginia Parkways Authority to assist with tolling and bond-financing that would allow the completion of Route 35. The bill also would allow the Parkways Authority to assist by selling bonds and tolling roads other than Rt. 35 if necessary. The Mason and Putnam County Commissions are in support of tolling Rt. 35 under the circumstances to expedite its completion. Passage of this legislation will enable the WVDOT and the new Parkways Authority to work together to build and operate toll roads. WVDOT will need to hire a traffic engineering firm to prepare a bond grade study. The Division of Highways continues to move the Rt. 35 project forward.
This bill also requires public notice and hearings in all counties hosting a parkway project slated for revenue bonds or tolls.
As a matter of reference, in April 2007, the Authority Board passed a Resolution refocusing the mission of the Authority to maintaining the West Virginia Turnpike and phasing out all economic development and tourism projects. This has been accomplished with the exception of Tamarack. There will be no new economic development or new tourism projects permitted with the passage of this bill with the exception of an ongoing project to allow private development of the approximately 60 acres of land of the Authority adjacent to the Tamarack arts and crafts/conference center in Beckley.
Governor Manchin has indicated that he would like only one tolling authority in the State of West Virginia; therefore, he has introduced this bill to reorganize the Parkways Authority to be able to assist with tolling and related bonding on a statewide basis. The current West Virginia Parkways Authority already has the infrastructure and experience in collecting tolls, especially electronic tolling with the E-ZPass® system being used on the West Virginia Turnpike, and in issuing, selling, administering and paying toll revenue bonds.