Truckers protest pricey toll proposed in West Virginia

Truckers clued in early that the proposed U.S. 35 in West Virginia could have a serious price tag attached. When the toll rates were announced – at $1.21 per mile for five-axle vehicles – truckers said they would avoid the new highway as a matter of business and principle.

History has proved that truckers will avoid toll roads if the rates get too high. OOIDA Life Member Scott Cadle of New Haven, WV, said this 14-mile “new” U.S. 35 route is a classic example of that.

“They’re shoving it down our throat even though we’ve told them no,” Cadle said.

He adds that the current two-lane U.S. 35 is in dire need of widening or replacement, but he doesn’t like the “new” proposed 14-mile stretch of U.S. 35 in Mason and Putnam counties.

“I’ve not talked to any owner-operator or company that will run it,” Cadle said. “Everybody I’ve talked to says they won’t run it. The majority will not pay that kind of toll.”

A one-way full-length trip on the highway is scheduled to cost $17 for a five-axle truck paying cash. E-ZPass account holders would pay slightly less at $16.16 for a full-length trip.

Toll increases would be guaranteed every four years through the proposed sunset date of 2043. By the end of the proposed contract, truck tolls will have nearly doubled to $32 per trip. LL

By David Tanner, associate editor