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Agendas Abound Tonight At 422 Forum In Royersford

ROYERSFORD PA – Make no mistake: Jon Frey, a Philadelphia resident who represents a group called the Pennsylvania Transit Expansion Coalition, doesn’t like the idea of imposing tolls on vehicles driving U.S. Route 422 between King of Prussia and the Berks County PA line. “The best course of action is to scrap the current (tolling) proposal and start fresh,” he says in an e-mail to The Post.

Quigley distributed this flyer for his event tonight

But Frey thinks the public needs to make up its own mind and hear from experts and government officials on the tolling issue. So his organization and several others are urging area residents to attend a forum on the topic scheduled to begin tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011) at 7 p.m. in Pope John Paul II High School, 181 Rittenhouse Rd., Royersford PA.

The recommendation to charge drivers fees to travel a 25-mile segment of the east-west highway, and use the resulting dedicated revenue to pay for road improvements and possibly even mass transit there, was made more than a year ago by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC).

State Rep. Tom Quigley, whose 146th District includes Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships and the borough of Pottstown, is sponsoring the forum. Quigley’s no fan of tolling either, he made clear this spring during a roadside press conference in Oaks, where he was joined by several other House representatives from the area.

Those willing to consider 422 tolling argue Quigley has stacked the forum’s deck. Two advocates scheduled to speak tonight are Barry Seymour, DVRPC executive director, and Joe Hoeffel, out-going Montgomery County commissioner and former DVRPC board chairman. Four other panelists – state Reps. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Warren Kampf (R-Montgomery and Chester), and Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery); and Stan Huskey, editor of The (Norristown PA) Times-Herald newspaper, oppose the concept.

Frey has an agenda too, he admits. His group contends passenger rail service in southeastern Pennsylvania needs to be expanded, and its particular emphasis is on reinstating service to SEPTA‘s Fox Chase-Newtown rail line. “Using tolls to fund transit sets a bad example,” he wrote to The Post last week (Sept. 7). “It avoids the transit funding issue, and could mean no funding for transit in areas without tollable roads.”

“This is an interactive event and audience participation is encouraged,” according to Quigley. Those who are unable to attend but would like to submit a question for tonight’s panelists should call his district office, located on East High Street in Sanatoga, at 610-326-9563.

Other advance coverage about the forum:

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

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