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Report Expected To Suggest Law For Road Toll Authority

HARRISBURG PA – There was good news Monday (July 18, 2011), or – depending on your feelings for the subject – bad news, from the state’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission regarding the future of tolling on U.S. Route 422 between King of Prussia and Reading, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.

The commission, charged by Gov. Tom Corbett to study the needs of and future financing for the state’s transportation and mass transit infrastructure, apparently will not recommend the tolling of any specific highways or state roads, its chairman and state Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch told The Independent.

However, Schoch added, commission members will suggest approval of “enabling legislation” for tolling decisions to be made later.

If someday accepted by the Legislature, a law that enables Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties (or others in similar circumstances) to establish tolling authorities would likely give those bodies the ability to collect and use toll money for dedicated purposes, such as transportation improvements in the Route 422 corridor.

The commission has been at work in recent months to better understand Pennsylvania’s transportation challenges. Its meetings included a presentation, made by county officials and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Authority, on a proposal to toll 422. Commissioners completed their work Monday and will submit a final report to the governor next week.

Schoch indicated the commission will recommend increasing taxes on wholesale fuel sales, which would raise prices for motorists at the gas pump; and increasing vehicle registration and drivers’ license fees. Overall, the commission’s recommendations are expected to increase transportation funding by $2.5 billion annually within five years, The Independent reported.

State Sen. John Rafferty, who represents Lower Pottsgrove, Limerick and Pottstown PA, and who serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, will review the report and wait to hear the governor’s position before taking action, his executive director, Nathan Spade, told The Independent.

Separate from The Independent’s story, local municipal government managers and other officials were said to have met Monday night in Limerick for a discussion of the 422 proposal. The content of that meeting was not revealed to The Post.

Related (to U.S. Route 422 Corridor planning):

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