By: Rep. Jerry Knowles – 124th Legislative District
Recently, the House acted on the Wolf administration’s plan to toll nine bridges around the Commonwealth, including the one in the 124th Legislative District along Interstate 78 in Lenhartsville, Berks County. They further reassert the Legislature’s oversight of, and community involvement in, any future tolling plans.
Senate Bill 382
, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-35), passed through the House with bipartisan support, after being amended. This legislation would require Pennsylvania’s Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) board to develop a detailed analysis of any proposed transportation project prior to approval. The board failed to do that last November when it approved the transportation initiative that included implementation of a user fee without mentioning which bridges would be tolled.
The P3 law adopted in 2012 authorized the establishment of such partnerships to assist in funding road and bridge repairs statewide. SB 382 would void this proposal and prescribe a more open and transparent process for future P3 projects. Any P3 project that includes a user fee would require legislative approval.
When this project was explained, it was done as if there would be an optional tolling lane to use that individuals could choose to take. This is certainly not the case we have seen. Additionally, with federal funds on the way, we should be waiting to see what funds will be provided to support Pennsylvania’s road and bridge projects before citizens across the Commonwealth are burdened with another tax or fee.
I have heard from many upset constituents on this issue. I share their sentiment, which I have expressed to PennDOT. Pennsylvania should not be tolling bridges within our state.
Representative Jerry Knowles
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Matthew Deegan