Good highways are a must

Whether we like it or not, members of the West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association (OMEGA) collect the taxes on each gallon of fuel West Virginians put in their vehicle or business machinery. From July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, West Virginia retailers collected state motor fuel taxes of $409 million and federal taxes of $400 million. Our convenience stores, gas stations and petroleum marketers gather and submit the federal and state tax and these funds are used to maintain and improve our state highway system.

Unfortunately for all West Virginians, this is not enough revenue to stave off deteriorating road conditions and construct new roads. With the advent of more fuel efficient vehicles – and I in no way am suggesting this is anything other than a positive development – the simple fact is that fuel tax collections will level off or decline in the future.

West Virginians are known for confronting challenges head on. The West Virginia Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways is doing just that and it is incumbent on all of us to support these efforts. In order for us to have economic development and jobs, we must continue to fund our infrastructure at appropriate levels.

Jim Oppe