The new FAST Act transportation funding bill signed by President Obama contains a pilot allowing up to three states to toll their interstates, so it’s time for the Wolf administration to resubmit our request to toll I-80.
From Governing Magazine:
Federal law generally prohibits states from adding tolls to existing interstates. The proposal would extend a pilot program that lets as many as three states toll existing interstates, even though the three states with permission — Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia — have no plans to do so. The agreement, though, would add a three-year deadline for states to use their authority to toll interstates, or else that permission could be given to another state instead.
The prohibition against tolling interstates is dumb. The original infrastructure is paid for, but the need for more maintenance funding will only keep growing, and the amount of money raised by user fees has been shrinking.
Act 89 is going to raise a lot of money from gas taxes, but a lot isn’t the same as enough, and more revenue is needed to bring PA’s infrastructure into a state of good repair. The state’s transit agencies in particular are still just treading water with the new funding, despite real needs and opportunities for expansion, especially in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh where more people have been trading in their cars for walkable central neighborhoods.
Tolling I-80 can bring in another $450 million for transportation. We’ve got a proposal ready to send back to the feds. Let’s not leave that money on the table.