SPECIAL REPORT: Pennsylvania goes public with I-80 lease

| 11/2/2007

Friday, Nov. 2, 2007 – Transportation officials in Pennsylvania have made public a lease document signed in mid-October that awards control of Interstate 80 from the state DOT to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The lease includes language for the conversion of I-80 into a toll road.

Signatures on the lease indicate that the 50-year agreement for I-80, which includes a provision to seek authority to toll the interstate, was signed Oct. 14, thereby meeting the Oct. 15 deadline imposed by state lawmakers.

The lease states that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission now has control over the 311-mile I-80 in the state.

Click here to view the 103-page document, which was not made public until two weeks after officials signed it.

In order for I-80 to become a toll road, the turnpike commission and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation require tolling authority from the Federal Highway Administration.

Federal tolling authority is not automatically awarded. The process could take months or even years to play out, based on the fact that FHWA has approved two previous proposals for interstate tolling in the past four years – one for I-81 in Virginia in 2003 and one for truck-only lanes on I-70 from Missouri to Ohio in 2005.

– By David Tanner, staff writer