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A Taxing Proposition?

No question about it, these are record prices at the pump and they're probably going higher. About a fourth of the money you spend per gallon is also going to highways.

In West Virginia, about 44 cents a gallon goes to the Division of Highways, mostly for highway construction and repair. That includes the biggest area highway project in years, Corridor D.

“Out of the 25 cents gallon we pay to the state in taxes," says Rusty Roten of the West Virginia Division of Highways, "a nickel goes to match federal money."

One of the area's most anticipated road projects is the widening of Ohio Route 7 from two lanes to four. That was part of Gov. Bob Taft's Jobs and Progress initiative earlier this year, an initiative funded largely through gasoline taxes.

Roten says the amount of highway tax money coming into West Virginia has remained steady, but that could change if motorists' driving habits change.

"I would anticipate that, as gas prices go higher, people are more conservative in their driving," he says. "Meaning they would buy less gas, which could affect the amount of income coming into the Division of Highways."

Stephanie Filson, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Highways, says interstate highways also need attention. Filson says most interstates, when they were built in the 1950's and '60's, were intended to last 30 years, and are well beyond that stage.


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