Pa. scrambles to find transportation money after I-80 toll plan dies

    When Pennsylvania created dedicated fund to repair the state’s roads and bridges in 2007, it was based on several assumptions.
    One of them was winning approval for to charge tolls on Interstate 80. But that’s not what happened, and now the state’s top transportation official says many future repair projects are in danger of not happening.

    When Pennsylvania created dedicated fund to repair the state’s roads and bridges in 2007, it was based on several assumptions.

    One of them was winning approval for to charge tolls on Interstate 80. But that’s not what happened, and now the state’s top transportation official says many future repair projects are in danger of not happening.

    Officials had banked on revenue from I-80 tolling to fund transportation projects over the coming years, but now that option’s off the table.
    Lawmakers need to fill a 450-million dollar gap in next year’s budget, though Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler says the problem goes beyond that.

    Biehler says the federal government’s rejection of a tolling plan creates a major deficit in the years to come, “In the next four years only, it’s about two billion dollars less on the highway and bridge side. We had a list of projects that we intended to do for that two billion dollars. That won’t happen. And we’ll be happy to publish that information.”
    Biehler says about 7,000 miles of Pennsylvania roadways need repairs, and the total cost for the state’s infrastructure fixes is around $14 billion.

    The Rendell Administration hasn’t endorsed a specific plan to raise new transportation revenue.
    A greater emphasis on public-private partnerships, like tolling, is one idea on the table. Some lawmakers have suggested increasing car and license registration fees.

    Governor Rendell has called for a legislative special session next week to address the transportation funding gap.

    DOT’s rejection letter

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