We wholeheartedly support the effort to finish Route 35 with the imposition of tolls. In this time of fiscal austerity, what more fiscally responsible way can one find to complete a much-needed project? As frequent travelers on Route 35, we have witnessed too many close calls to oppose the completion of the highway with tolling. As schoolteachers, our students and their safety are paramount and $2 is a small price to pay to better insure their travel to and from school. Many of our former students have had to leave the area due to a lack of jobs. As taxpayers, what an opportunity to develop the county in areas heretofore unopened and keep our families closer given the prospect of employment.
Many have expressed a concern about the price of the drive. If $2 is an issue, then tolling should be the least of anyone’s concern. If the toll is such an imposition, then avoid the road altogether and take the old 35. We can’t imagine tractor-trailer traffic avoiding the four-lane. To any reputable trucking line, time is money. If a trucking firm can pay a toll and take 15 to 20 minutes off their travel distance and time, they’ll take the toll.
We recently drove the newly opened portion of Route 35. The clear bulk of the traffic wasn’t even West Virginia licensed vehicles — they were out of state and even out of country. The majority of travel on Route 35 doesn’t seem to come from residents of our state. Clearly, this won’t be something placed solely upon the backs of Mason Countians.
This is not a Gallia County, Ohio, issue. They have their development and so does Putnam County. This is about development in Mason County, pure and simple. It is time for leadership in Mason County’s best interests, not drawing in outsiders who, after the dust has settled, could care less about Mason County. Perhaps if Mason Countians depended more upon Mason Countians, fewer of us would have to shop across the river in Gallia County.
Let’s hope a small, vocal group of “aginners” don’t dictate the course of development and growth of Mason County. May we take advantage of the opportunity that lies before our county.
Point Pleasant, W.Va.