West Virginia is looking at increasing turnpike toll rates this summer. It would be the first toll increase since 1981.

The West Virginia Turnpike Authority will face revenue shortfalls in coming years if toll increases are not made, according to a recent report from Charleston-based Wilbur Smith and Associates.

Rate increases to $2.00 from $1.25 for cars and to $6.75 from $4.25 for five-axle trucks will be enough for the authority to cover debt service payments and improvement costs, the study found. Drivers with E-Z Passes are expected to get a discount.

The 60% toll increases would increase total revenue by 42% and give the authority a revenue-to-debt-service ratio of at least 3.85 through fiscal 2019.

Toll revenues have declined over the last four years, and the recession has led to further declines in toll revenues, the study said.

The authority is expected to hold a series of meetings across the state to inform drivers of the potential rate increases. The turnpike’s board members are expected to vote on the toll increases in June.

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