Federal authority nixes planned I-80 toll

    The Federal Highway Administration has rejected Pennsylvania’s application to place tolls Interstate 80. That creates a $450 million hole in next year’s transportation budget.

    The Federal Highway Administration has rejected Pennsylvania’s application to place tolls Interstate 80.

    That creates a $450 million hole in next year’s transportation budget.

    [Audio: 100406SDTOLL.mp3]

    Federal officials say Pennsylvania can’t toll Interstate 80 and use the revenue for other transportation projects.

    Governor Rendell says that legal interpretation is “wrong,” but the decision makes I-80 tolling a dead end.

    Rendell: “It will mean that new projects like the ones I’ve cited from both mass transit and highways – additional bridges won’t be able to be taken care of. Additional roads won’t be repaired. It’s – it’s a bummer.”

    Rendell says he’ll call a special legislative session to address new revenue options.

    He says he’ll consider any and all proposals, including a partial lease of the Turnpike, new levies on oil companies, and other fees and taxes.

    House Transportation Committee Chairman Joseph Markosek, an Allegheny County Democrat, says lawmakers will face a lot of unpopular decisions in the coming months.

    Markosek says it will come down to raising new taxes, or shutting down transportation services and leaving roads unrepaired.

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