Investor response was so good to the most recent bond sale by the West Virginia Parkways Authority that Parkways officials were able to raise an extra $90 million for Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads to Prosperity highway construction and maintenance program.
On June 9, 2021, Parkways officials went to market with a bond offering to raise $333 million for DOH road and bridge construction. Jeff Miller, executive director of the Parkways Authority, said investors jumped at the bond offering, in part due to West Virginia’s excellent bond ratings. West Virginia has nearly the highest bond ratings possible, according to ratings agencies S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.
The state’s excellent rating position allowed for a low 2.62 average percentage rate over the 30-year payback period of the bonds.
“Because the interest rate was so good, and demand was so high, we were able to get $90 million over the $333 million we had asked for,” Miller said.
Paperwork for the bond sale was finalized on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, and the $423 million transferred to DOH.
Miller said the money will be paid back through tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike – 75 percent of which are paid by commercial traffic and travelers from outside West Virginia. The money will go to 23 projects in the 10 counties surrounding the Turnpike, but won’t be used on the Turnpike itself.
At the same time, anyone in West Virginia – or any other state – can pay a $25 annual fee and have unlimited use of the Turnpike. That’s the equivalent of paying tolls at about six toll booths.
“Basically, a trip up and a trip back from Princeton to Charleston and it’s paid for itself,” Miller said.
“We’re doing this to save money for the state,” Miller said. “It’s a huge win for everybody.”
Projects to be paid for through the bond sale include the Coalfield Expressway, a $203 million project to build a four-lane road from WV 16 near Pineville to Welch in McDowell County. Other projects include approximately $19 million to build a new roadway and bridge to ease congestion in the Davis Creek and Corridor G area in Kanawha County, funding portions of the Beckley Z-Way, improving US 60 between Chelyan and Montgomery, and replacement or rehabilitation of eight different bridges around the state.
“We are pleased to be able to partner with the WVDOH to provide them the funding for important projects in these 10 counties,” Miller said.
"Wall Street has once again shown its support for West Virginia's excellent financial management policies," said West Virginia Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy. "The Parkways Authority has once again hit a home run for the users of our highways."