CHARLESTON - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday signed one of two bills that supported his highway financing and construction plan.
At the West Virginia Capitol, Justice commended lawmakers for not missing the opportunity to pass Senate Bill 1006. It, combined with other roads measures passed by lawmakers, could create nearly 48,000 jobs in the state, Justice has said.
"What it will do for our state is unbelievable," Justice said Thursday. "It will bring employment like crazy."
Senate Bill 1006 increases the state's gas tax, some Division of Motor Vehicles fees, and the privilege tax on buying a car.
The privilege tax will go from 5 percent of the total cost of purchasing a vehicle to 6 percent of the cost.
The increase to the gas tax keeps the margins of the variable minimum wholesale gas tax the same, but it increases the highest and lowest amounts that can be charged via that tax.
The variable minimum tax fluctuates annually in conjunction with the wholesale price of gas in West Virginia.
The increase averages out to about 3.5 cents more per gallon.
The bill also allows for a variety of DMV fees to increase, including those on titles, registration and inspection stickers. For example, the registration fee will increase from $28.50 to $50 per year, and the cost of an inspection sticker will go from $5 to $10 beginning July 1.
Additionally, the bill increases registration fees for eco-friendly vehicles, with lawmakers reasoning that hybrid vehicles still create wear and tear on the state's roads even if they aren't fueled by gasoline.
Owners of vehicles fueled only by hydrogen, natural gas or electricity will pay $200 per year in registration fees, and owners of vehicles fueled by a combination of electricity and gasoline will pay $100.
Another roads bill, Senate Bill 1003, which increases toll prices and tolling authority, was approved by lawmakers last week.
Both bills will support more than 500 shovel-ready projects throughout the state, Justice said Thursday.
They also are the first step in Justice's bigger plan, which includes calling a special election to allow West Virginians to authorize the sale of up to $1.6 billion in bonds for roads and bridge construction projects throughout the state.
The Legislature on April 8 approved a resolution allowing the governor to call for the special election, but he had not called for the election as of Thursday.