Hutchinson opposes toll plan
A set of eastbound and westbound bridges on Interstate 80 in Clarion County are among nine proposed tolling locations unveiled by PENNDOT, according to state Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-Butler/Clarion/Forest/Venango/Warren, who opposes the plan.
The I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges over State Route 4005 (Tippecanoe Road) and Canoe Creek are on the list of spans identified by PENNDOT for tolling. Under the plan the toll would be $1 to $2 for passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles would pay a higher toll based on number of axles.
“Let’s be clear, this is nothing more than another proposal by the Governor to raise taxes without legislative approval. It is not enough that Pennsylvania motorists already pay the second-highest gas tax in the nation. That money is intended to pay for the projects that PENNDOT claims requires this additional fee,” Hutchinson said.
On November 12, 2020, the Pennsylvania Public-Private Partnership Transportation Board approved a Major Bridge Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program proposal to toll five to 10 bridges on the Interstate System or freeways.
“The money raised by the local bridge tax would supposedly pay for their replacement. The fact is this project has been on the books for some time, well before P3 Board was created,” Hutchinson said. “It has progressed through the review and approval process and should commence without the need to impose a new user fee.”
In addition to the Clarion County bridges, PENNDOT is also proposing the tolling of three additional areas on Interstate 80: the North Fork Bridges in Jefferson County; the Nescopeck Creek Bridges in Luzerne County; and, the bridges over the Lehigh River in Luzerne and Carbon counties.
“This essentially represents a back-handed attempt to toll Interstate 80, a proposal by the Rendell Administration some years ago that was ultimately rejected by the federal government,” said Senator Hutchinson.
Other proposed tolling locations include:
Interstate 78 in Berks County.
Interstate 79 in Allegheny County.
Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County.
Interstate 83 in Dauphin County.
Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.
“This is nothing more than a backdoor tax increase on rural Pennsylvania. Two-thirds of the tolling sites are in rural areas, where many of the local residents rely on these interstate highways to hold down a job or shop for basic necessities,” Hutchinson said.
“They don’t have the luxury of finding alternative routes to avoid the tolls.”