Tolling our interstates to raise money to rebuild our infrastructure is one area where Congressman Paul Kanjorski and I disagree. I believe its essential we find the funds for these projects and user fees aren’t unreasonable. I have heard some state lawmakers mistakenly say tolls will only be near the state lines and not impact many Pennsylvanians but this is erroneous.
Congressmen from northern Pennsylvania need to oppose this issue however if they expect support from the voters. Those of us in southern and eastern Pennsylvania have been carrying an unfair load of turnpike tolls for many years while those traversing I-80 and other major highways have gotten a free ride (literally).
KANJORSKI URGES U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO REJECT TOLLING ON I-80
Kanjorski Reemphasizes Opposition for Tolling on I-80
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) sent letters to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator James Ray stating his opposition to tolling on I-80. He also urged them to reject the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s (PTC) revised application on this matter.
“I have been hearing from many of my constituents about the issue of tolling on I-80, as it would affect residents throughout Pennsylvania, but especially those in the Northeast,” stated Congressman Kanjorski. “We must invest in projects that will benefit Pennsylvanians, and tolling on I-80 will do just the opposite. Rather, it would disproportionally burden residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania since many businesses and residents use I-80 to travel and commute. The tolling would cause financial concerns for residents, and increased congestion and safety hazards on I-80 and on local roads which would receive more use.”
In his letter, Congressman Kanjorski stated his opposition to tolling on I-80 for the following reasons:
· In 2005, PennDOT conducted a study which recommended against tolling on I-80 because upgrades on the highway recently took place.
· The FHWA only approves tolls on interstate highways for construction activities on those roads.
· Tolling would burden existing and potential businesses, especially trucking companies and manufacturers, who use I-80 to transport their products.
· Such action would cause a financial burden to residents in Northeastern Pennsylvania who use I-80 for commuting and traveling.
· Tolling would force drivers to increasingly travel on local roads to avoid the cost of the tolls, which would cause more damage to these local roads and increase safety concerns.
Congressman Kanjorski sent a letter to the FHWA Administrator at the time, Richard Capka, on December 6, 2007 expressing his opposition to tolling on I-80 and he urged FHWA to reject PennDOT and PTC’s application. Less than a week later, the FHWA returned the application stating it had insufficient information.
On November 27, 2007, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) held a public meeting in Bloomsburg at the request of Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) to provide information and receive feedback about the potential of building tolls on I-80.