Vehicle Fleet: Lawmakers must cut down on waste

Last week, West Virginia lawmakers took an important step toward reducing one contributor to the massive waste, redundancy — maybe even fraud — that weighs down our state budget. They passed a bill that will create a statewide fleet management office under the Department of Administration, and require each and every state agency to actually know how many state vehicles it uses.

Early in this legislative session, lawmakers learned there are THREE different estimates for how many state-owned (and insured) vehicles are on our roads. Those ranged from approximately 7,500 to more than 12,000. Imagine for a moment, the kind of Keystone Cops management — or willfully turning a blind eye — it would take to lose track of 4,500 vehicles. Then ask yourself why Mountain State taxpayers need to fund even 7,500 state vehicles.

This new bill would change the color scheme of state vehicle license plates from the green and white, which, bizarrely, never expire, to blue and gold ones good for only two years. Agencies will also be required to re-register all vehicles between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, so that, eventually, any vehicle out on the road with a green and white plate will be illegal.

Lawmakers must take the next logical step, once they know how many vehicles are out there. Get rid of the ones that are not absolutely necessary for state government to meet the needs of West Virginians.