Date Requested: January 23, 2015
Time Requested: 10:49 AM
Agency: Transportation, Department of
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
1352 Introduced HB2049
CBD Subject: Military and Veterans


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
2015
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2016
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 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 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.
    
    The Parkways Authority’s electronic toll collection system cannot process “toll passes”. With the exception of cash, the Turnpike uses E-ZPass transponders for electronic toll collection. There are two discount plans available for Class I vehicles. Discount Plan #1 is for the daily commuter driving to and from work, school, etc. and are a frequent user of the Turnpike. This plan provides up to 90% savings in toll rates for the high frequency user. 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 $1.35 discounted rate). 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. Also, arrangements are made in advance with funeral homes for the payment of tolls without disrupting the funeral procession and transponders are being used by some schools to expedite the payment of tolls for school bus travel.
    
    If printed toll passes were created, each user would have to stop in a manned lane and hand the pass to a toll collector. Those printed toll passes would be subject to possible abuse, illegal reproduction, patron losing pass, and delays in toll lanes due to questions about expired and/or lost passes.
    
    If the Authority were to provide E-ZPass transponders, free of charge, to the Beckley VA Medical Center there would be no way of monitoring the proper usage of these transponders (misplaced/stolen units, transponders being returned to the VA once the veteran returns home, ensuring that the transponder is not used for personal gain, assigning a person at the VA Hospital to distribute and track the transponders). 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).
    
    The Parkways Authority contacted the Beckley VA Medical Center and was advised that there is an individual in charge of travel at this institution with the duty of providing toll fee reimbursement to those patients who are qualified as eligible for toll repayment.
    



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