Pa. Legislators Push Back on Interstate Toll Bridges
Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are saying they aren't happy with the idea of charging tolls on nine major bridges, including one on Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County over the Susquehanna River. But Legislators actually voted to allow for tolling years ago.
The Legislature had been warned, however about that prospect of toll roads popping up back in 2012 when they passed a measure delegating that approval to appointees of the Governor and top lawmakers.
Luzerne County Representative Mike Carroll reminded his colleagues of that vote eight years ago following a long Appropriations Committee hearing February 23.
The Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board was created in that 2012 law and last November approved the toll projects.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said it would consider charging tolls on the deteriorating spans to help generate the cash needed to fix them. PennDOT on February 18 said the work on the nine bridges would be costly, as in billions of dollars.
Tolling would be electronic and collected through EZpass or license-plate billing. PennDOT says any tolls collected on a particular span would be directed back to the bridge where the toll was collected,
In a news release, PennDOT said one of the early findings of the Planning and Environmental Linkages Study was that tolling of major bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation "appears to be a viable near-term solution."
Officials say the scope of the needed work, the condition of the surrounding roadway network and traffic flow would all be taken into consideration when putting together what project bundles would be advertised in the spring.