Pennsylvania’s I-80 tolling foes continue fight

Jill Dunn | January 25, 2010

While opposition to tolling Interstate 80 continues, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently told four Pennsylvania congressional delegates a decision on the state’s application to toll would be reached soon.

On Jan. 19, LaHood told Republican Glenn “GT” Thompson and the other representatives the department had been reviewing the Pennsylvania transportation department’s and turnpike commission’s application for permission to toll I-80 and would have an answer soon.

Thompson said he told LaHood that the threat of tolling would hurt the state. “If you approve the tolling of I-80, already turned down twice, you will effectively reroute prosperity around Pennsylvania,” he said.

On Dec. 19, Thompson and other state congressional representatives met with Federal Highway Administration Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau on a similar mission.

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, the American Trucking Associations, the National Association of Truck Stop Owners and the American Higher Users Alliance wrote LaHood advocating against tolling Jan. 12.

The groups argue the state has not met federal requirements to grant permission to toll.
On Oct. 29, Pennsylvania applied for a third time for federal permission to toll, following recent findings that did not support tolling.

In 2007, the state legislature approved a measure meant to establish long-term funding for transportation. Among other things, it tasked the commission with providing annual lease payments to PennDOT in exchange for operating I-80 as a toll road.

Wyoming is also considering tolling its portion of I-80.

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