HARRISBURG PA – A proposal to impose tolls on vehicles that travel Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania, the superhighway 35 miles north of Allentown that crosses the entire state from its New York to Ohio borders, is expected to be denied by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) next week, the Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported today (Friday, Feb. 5, 2010).
The Feds’ potential refusal to allow tolls on I-80 may have significant implications for drivers on U.S. Route 422 in Montgomery County (PA). Projects to improve 422 and some of its bridges currently depend in part on what is called “Act 44″ funding, a reference to state legislation passed in 2007 that would allow I-80 toll money to help pay for work on other highways as well.
The Harrisburg PA-based Independent cited “multiple federal sources” in a 500-word article on what it claimed was an impending federal announcement. It added, however, that a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) spokesperson declined to comment on “the status of the decision.”
Previous attempts to gain approval for tolling I-80 were denied by the FHWA in 2007 and 2008, the Independent noted.
Turning I-80 into a toll road is estimated to cost $665 million for the installation of booths and an E-Z Pass system, but if approved it would be expected to generate between $250 million and $350 million annually in revenue. The money would make I-80 financially independent, save the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $60 million a year in maintenance costs, and also help pay for projects like the improvements to 422.
The Montgomery County Planning Commission has reportedly been lobbying heavily for USDOT to approve the tolling plan. County planners in December (2009) sent letters to USDOT, the county’s congressional and state legislative delegations, and regional transportation authorities urging plan’s adoption.
Related (to U.S. Route 422 Corridor planning):
- Last Day For Your Say On Route 422 Plan
- Notebook Worthy (Aug. 24, 2009)
- Consultants Express Interest In Studying 422
- Don’t Like 422 Tolling? Website Wants Your Alternative
- Truckers Alerted On Highway Partnerships Bill
- In 422 Debate, Time A Hindrance And Help
- Notebook Worthy (June 29, 2009)
- Growth, Planners Say, Is 422’s Growing Problem
- Tech Used To Draw For 422 Meetings
- Route 422 Toll Meetings Next Week
- 422 Repairs, Delays Start Tuesday
- 422 Proposal, Like Traffic, Creeps Ahead
- Got A Route 422 Idea? Time To Air It
- Train Service On The Front Burner Once More
Artist’s drawing from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission