24 August 2007
Pennsylvania Turnpike: the sequel
If you need to get across Pennsylvania, one of those states that's a lot wider than it looks, you either take the twisty Pennsylvania Turnpike and peel off twenty bucks or so in tolls, or you take I-80 and yawn most of the way.
If the Keystone State has its way, you'll get to pay for the privilege of yawning:
Motorists traveling across the state of Pennsylvania on Interstate 80 could pay a $25 tax by the year 2010. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on Friday asked the US Department of Transportation for approval to turn the free and paid-for interstate highway into a toll road for the purpose of raising money for mass transit and other public spending projects. This would be the first conversion of a free interstate into a toll road since the interstate highway system was developed fifty years ago.
"The tolling program would generate revenues allowing a dramatic increase in capital investment along I-80, with an additional $1 billion being spent over the next decade, above and beyond PennDOT's historic 'baseline' funding levels," the tolling application stated.
The US House has already voted to prohibit this action. Said Rep. Phil English (R-PA):
"We are not going to stand by while Harrisburg raids western Pennsylvania travelers and picks truckers' pockets to prop up Philadelphia's mass transit system."
The Senate has yet to have its say. You can read the state's application to USDOT here (PDF file).Posted at 10:06 AM to Driver's Seat