One Idea: Gateway Tolling

During the kickoff of yesterday’s  Special Session on the Pennsylvania  Transportation Funding Crisis, Gov. Rendell asked for suggestions on how to fill the gap within Act 44, PA’s Transportation law.  State Representative Scott Conklin (77th District) has come forward with one recommendation — implementing a toll on the state’s interstate highways, at the 11 entrance points along the state’s border. Drivers would pay to leave and to enter the state.

A Johnstown news source reports:

PennDOT officials said an estimated 168 million vehicles cross Pennsylvania’s borders on non-tolled interstate roads and bridges each year, and when factoring in round-trips, gateway tolling could raise at least $300 million a year.

Conklin said the last thing lawmakers want is a bridge collapse like one that happened a few years ago on Interstate 70.

“Many of our bridges today are the exact same concrete construction and again, in central Pennsylvania alone, if we don’t do something immediately we’re looking at 160,000 residents who are going to have to divert their driving habits,” Conklin said.

Do you think this proposal has a greater chance of gaining support than an increase in the gas tax?

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on May 5, 2010, in Public Infrastructure, Transportation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Peter Crownfield

    Yes, it has a greater chance of gaining support. Not because it’s a good idea, but just because it doesn’t include the word ‘tax’. PA legislators are afraid of that word.

    It would cost a lot of money to implement unless it’s limited to trucks and buses — and they use the toll bridges. It would slow traffic at the free bridges and penalize people who happen to live near the state line.

    If they like the gateway idea, they should just raise the toll on trucks and buses at the existing bridges [and on the turnpike]. Statistics suggest that 18-wheelers are responsible for over 1000 times the wear on the roads and bridges as a car. Maybe we could start with 100 times the car toll for 18 wheelers and 50 times the car toll for buses. That would more accurately reflect the cost of this infrastructure.

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