HARRISBURG – Several Pennsylvania senators today joined members of the No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition to voice opposition to the Wolf administration’s plan to toll interstate bridges in Pennsylvania, beginning with the following nine bridges:
- I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project (Berks County)
- I-79 Widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration (Allegheny County)
- I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges (Clarion County)
- I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges (Luzerne County)
- I-80 North Fork Bridges Project (Jefferson County)
- I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project (Luzerne and Carbon counties)
- I-81 Susquehanna Project (Susquehanna County)
- I-83 South Bridge Project (Dauphin County)
- I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project (Philadelphia County)
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan proposes tolling to pay for bridge projects and has received an overwhelming amount of disapproval, including members of the General Assembly, local officials, businesses and Pennsylvania residents.
Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, spoke at the rally. “It is never acceptable for the hardworking people of Pennsylvania to pay a new tax, fee or toll when gas prices are skyrocketing,” said Langerholc. “The court’s temporary halt reflects the bipartisan arguments in my DRIVE SMART Act, including Senate Bill 382. I will continue to call on Gov. Wolf and PennDOT to compromise with sensible solutions.”
PennDOT’s bridge tolling initiative would cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input nor approval.
“The process for adding tolls to interstate bridges was mired in a lack of transparency, citizen input and legislative oversight. It has been a sloppy, closed process that sets the precedent of more tolls in the future,” said Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21). “The cost to motorists, communities and employers is too great, as is the power claimed by PennDOT to implement and raise tolls on its own. There are other funding options for bridge maintenance and repairs. This process should be halted and replaced with one that is open and rational.”
Langerholc, Robinson and Hutchinson co-sponsored Senate Bill 382, which reforms the P3 statute and voids PennDOT’s plan. However, Gov. Wolf has stated that he will veto the bill.
“Our roads and bridges absolutely need to be repaired. Thankfully, we already have the funding for these projects through the federal infrastructure bill,” said Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37). “Instead of soliciting hardworking Pennsylvanians, we must work together to allocate our available resources while being transparent, which is exactly what PennDOT failed to do.”
The Commonwealth Court sided with Cumberland County and several municipalities surrounding the I-83 candidate toll bridge that challenged the plan as unconstitutional and has temporarily halted PennDOT’s entire bridge tolling plan with a preliminary injunction. The court also heard a different case from several municipalities in the southwest surrounding the I-79 candidate toll bridge.
Nolan Ritchie (Langerholc)
Justin Leventry (Hutchinson)
Elizabeth Weitzel (Robinson)