Greetings from underneath the big gold dome. The 81st Legislature is two days old. It’s also Valentine’s Day, so let’s start today’s lunchtime roundup off with something truly romantic. Roads.
It’s “Transportation Day” here at the Capitol (most every day during the session is dedicated to something), and there are hundreds of folks in neon-green vests milling about. West Virginians for Better Transportation kicked off the day’s events with a 10 a.m. press conference.
Senate President Jeff Kessler was the first speaker and told the crowd the key to fixing the state’s infastructure is “cold, hard cash.”
Speaking after the press conference, Kessler told me lawmakers would look at all potential solutions for raising money, which could include a raise in gas taxes.
Sen. Bob Beach also spoke at the press conference. He said the state would look at all possible solutions to raising money for roads, including bonds, tax hikes and toll roads.
“We’re looking at every possible solution,” he said.
Beach asked attendees to help lawmakers sell these moves to their neighbors.
“It may be a little difficult, you may get a little heartburn from it, but it’s something the state of West Virginia needs,” he said.
The House and Senate Transportation Committees will conduct a joint meeting today at 1 p.m. I’ll be there, so follow me on Twitter to get live updates.
Last night, Dave and I covered Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of the State address. Education was the main focus (read about that here), and more information is coming out today about the governor’s education agenda. Look for that soon on www.charlestondailymail.com.
I wrote about Gov. Tomblin’s budget, which was presented to the House of Delegates this morning and will be introduced to the Senate this afternoon. The budget includes $75 million in cuts for state agencies, but does not include any tax hikes or layoffs. Read the full story here.