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State Road Tolls A Future Funding Solution, Official Agrees

HARRISBURG PA – Tolling highways like U.S. Route 422 between King of Prussia PA and Berks County “is not something that is going to happen immediately,” according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch, but he acknowledged Thursday (July 28, 2011) in an interview with The Pennsylvania Independent online news service that tolls represent “one of the possible solutions long term” for funding repairs to the state’s road system.

U.S. Route 422, as seen from Armand Hammer Boulevard in Lower Pottsgrove, looking west to the Route 724 interchange

Schoch made it clear the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission, which he heads and which was appointed several months ago by Gov. Tom Corbett, will not recommend new tolls when it submits its report to the governor today (Friday, July 29, 2011). “But the specter of tolls on state roads and interstates in the next decade is clearly present,” The Independent reported.

The commission, charged with finding more than $2.5 billion annually for transportation infrastructure projects, will suggest the state House and Senate pass “enabling legislation” to provide the groundwork for tolls on state roads at a later time. The legislation would make it easier to toll roads.

A similar law has been advocated by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission during the past 18 months as it suggested tolls as a revenue source for 422 improvements.

The highway that passes through Limerick, Lower Pottsgrove and Pottstown on its way west to Reading and beyond is notorious for traffic congestion during peak morning and evening travel times, as commuters head to and from work.

Among the report’s official recommendations are to increase driver’s license and vehicle registration fees, allowing the state’s gasoline tax to rise, and changing how the state pays mass transit agencies. The Legislature and governor must approve those recommendations before they could take effect.

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

 

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