HARRISBURG – Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, held a press conference today showcasing how federal financing is a better alternative than PennDOT’s Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) program to toll nine candidate bridges on the interstate system.
“The DRIVE SMART Act is a bold vision for this Commonwealth’s multimodal transportation system,” said Senator Langerholc. “A key recommendation in my plan is to authorize innovative federal financing to pay for the major bridge improvements, which is a better alternative to a tacit approval by PennDOT to impose a new tax on existing bridges for the next 30 years.”
On June 2, Senator Langerholc unveiled the DRIVE SMART Act, Delivering Reforms and Investments for Vehicle Efficiency and Supporting Motor carriers, Airports, Rails & trails and Transit agencies. The DRIVE SMART Act is a comprehensive proposal to reform and invest in the Keystone State’s aging infrastructure.
“Funding one of the largest transportation systems in the country has been a bipartisan issue in the past,” said Senator Langerholc. “The proposed DRIVE SMART Act is open to robust debate and discussion. I know we can find compromise on how to invest in our infrastructure, and ending PennDOT’s P3 bridge tolling initiative is critical before starting negotiations.”
Since becoming chairman in January, Senator Langerholc has been focused on overseeing PennDOT’s P3 bridge tolling initiative. Senator Langerholc held several hearings to better understand how PennDOT was authorized to move forward with few details and without approval from the General Assembly.
PennDOT is moving forward with imposing a new toll on the following bridges, unless there is support in the House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 382 (Langerholc), which is part of the DRIVE SMART Act:
- I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project in Berks County;
- I-79 Widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration in Allegheny County;
- I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges in Clarion County;
- I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges in Luzerne County;
- I-80 North Fork Bridges Project in Jefferson County;
- I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project in Luzerne and Carbon Counties;
- I-81 Susquehanna Project in Susquehanna County;
- I-83 South Bridge Project in Dauphin County; and
- I-95 Girard Point Improvement Bridge Project in Philadelphia County.
In the next couple of months, the Senate Transportation Committee will hold more hearings to collect feedback on the DRIVE SMART Act and other ideas to reform and invest in the Commonwealth’s multimodal transportation system. The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the DRIVE SMART Act online at www.SenatorLangerholc.com/drive-smart-act/.
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