It’s usually one of the lead traffic reports: “422 is jammed.”
But a plan to charge tolls to fund improvements and alleviate bottlenecks along one of the Delaware Valley’s most notorious roads has been scrapped – at least for now.
Two years ago, a coalition of planning professionals and county governments proposed charging tolls on Route 422 to fund improvements and finance a long-sought rail line from Reading to Philadelphia.
The plan has been tabled in favor of a state-wide effort.
“Now there’s a new package that’s been proposed by the Governor’s Transportation Funding and Advisory Committee. Folks have said they’d like to see a comprehensive statewide solution, so we’re pointing towards that,” said Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Seymour noted the statewide plan doesn’t guarantee improvements to roads in this corner of the state.
“That money is raised centrally in Harrisburg and gets spent across the state,” he said. “The local tolling proposal would have kept all the money here locally and focused on the 422 corridor.”
The commission is projecting growth of 50 percent in traffic over the next 25 years. So whether the funds come from Harrisburg or local tolls, for businesses and residents along Route 422, they can’t come soon enough.
Realtor Kathy Moore says the highway is often a negative for potential homebuyers.
“That’s always been a sore spot with people,” she said. “Because in the morning, it’s a nightmare.”
Gov. Tom Corbett, who received the committee’s report in August, is continuing to review it. It will be up to him whether the plan will be enacted.
“If that happens, that’s good news for everyone across Pennsylvania. If it doesn’t happen, I think everyone is going to want to take a step back and look and see what local options might be,” Seymour said.
At that point, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will be ready with the toll proposal.