CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — A deal for drivers on the West Virginia Turnpike expires in just a few weeks, and if you travel the turnpike just one time, you get your money's worth.
The two dollars you pay at each toll on the West Virginia Turnpike will soon turn to four dollars.
If you're like Pamella Halstead who take about eight camping trips to Greenbrier County each year, the cost of tolls adds up.
"It's going to raise, and we like to camp, and we're going to try this and see how much money it does save us, and we'll probably stick with it,” Halstead said.
The program, proposed by Governor Jim Justice, gives drivers the option of paying an E-ZPass onetime fee that gives them unlimited, toll-free turnpike travel for three years.
"It goes from mile post nine which is Princeton to mile post 96, which is right here at the Yeager Bridge in Kanawha City.
If you travel without an E-ZPass.
Starting January 1, when tolls double, the cost of driving from Charleston to Princeton and back on the turnpike will be $24.00, the same price as the onetime fee under the program.
"So, for one round trip basically in a passenger car, you get your money back in one round trip." West Virgnia Turnpike Manager, Greg Barr said.
If you miss the December 31 deadline, you have the option to pay $25.00 for unlimited toll-free travel for one year.
"We started out with about 40,000 accounts, and right now we have 70,000,” Barr said.
The tolls brought in an estimated $98,000 in revenue this year, and in 2019 that revenue is expected to increase to $119,000.
By 2048, revenue is expected to be double what it was this year, a conservative estimate of $180,000.
"We think it's a good idea that the state lets us have a little saving on this and we're going to try it. Anything about saving money is a good thing, because everybody likes to keep their money in their pocket,” Halstead said.
Toll-free travel has already begun for those who have entered the program and received their E-ZPass. Again, the deadline for three years of toll-free travel is December 31st. You can submit the application online, by mail, or at the turnpike office in Charleston.