On 422 Toll Plan, DVRPC Fights Information Requests
HARRISBURG PA — The regional agency pushing for vehicle tolls and the possibility of returning commuter rail service along the U.S. Route 422 corridor is, at least for now, refusing to release to the public information used in creating its plan, The Pennsylvania Independent online news servicereported Friday (Sept. 16, 2011).
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), which is responsible for the tolling proposal, argues it is not subject to the state’s right-to-know law and does not have to provide information so it can be independently verified.
In defiance of a state Office of Open Records ruling that information be disclosed, DVRPC has denied several right-to-know-law requests that seek data on current SEPTA train ridership. They were filed during the past two months by the Pennsylvania Transit Expansion Coalition (PA-TEC), a citizen’s group opposed to 422 tolling, according to The Independent.
DVRPC is asking Commonwealth Court to review and reverse the Office of Open Records decision.
Coalition President Jon Frey told The Independent his group wants to verify the accuracy of a ridership projection for a DVRPC-proposed rail line between Norristown and Reading, which is tentatively planned to make stops in Lower Pottsgrove and Pottstown. Resumption of train service, which ended in the 1980s, would be financed primarily by toll revenue from nearby Route 422.
For now, “any DVRPC records are pre-decisional, deliberative and strategic, and therefore exempt” from the state’s right-to-know law, Candy Snyder, its communications director, replied. Anything that can be made public is already available, she said.
DVRPC Executive Director Barry Seymour was one of several panelists who spoke Tuesday (Sept. 13) during a forum on the 422 proposal held at Pop John Paul II High School in Royersford. It attracted hundreds of area residents, most of whom seemed to oppose tolling.
- Read a story by reporter Eric Boehm, titled “Planning board pushing 422 toll/transit plan shutting out public access” and published Friday by The Independent, here.
- Watch a video (above) with comments from local officials and guests who attended the forum, or see it at The Post’s YouTube user account.
Related (to U.S. Route 422 Corridor planning):
- On 422 Toll Plan, DVRPC Fights Information Requests
- Notebook Worthy (U.S. Route 422 Forum Edition)
- Drivers will subsidize new rail line in 422 tolling plan (The Pennsylvania Independent)
- Agendas Abound Tonight At 422 Forum In Royersford
- Quigley Seeks Crowd As Source Of Comments On 422
- State Road Tolls A Future Funding Solution, Official Agrees
- Report Expected To Suggest Law For Road Toll Authority
- I-95 A Big Problem; 422 A Solvable Problem (With Tolls)
- Even With Tolling, 422 Might Be Free (For A Few Miles)
- County Candidates Brown, Castor Oppose 422 Tolling
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- Former Reporter Asks Commissioners To Support 422 Tolls
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- Notebook Worthy (June 29, 2009)
- Growth, Planners Say, Is 422’s Growing Problem
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