Congressman aims to block funding for I-80 tolls in Pennsylvania

| 7/24/2007

A U.S. representative from Pennsylvania does not want federal funds used for establishing or collecting tolls on Interstate 80 in his state.

Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, has proposed an amendment to the U.S. House appropriations bill – HR3074 – that would prohibit funds available in the bill from being used to establish or collect tolls on I-80 in Pennsylvania, Peterson’s press secretary, Travis Windle, confirmed for Land Line.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently passed legislation, signed July 17 by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, authorizing the conversion of I-80 into a toll road.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority is authorized to collect the tolls as the state looks to make up deficits in its transportation budget.

Truck drivers are in favor of the Peterson amendment, according to officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“That road would never have been built if it weren’t for the money that truckers paid into the system for years,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer told Land Line. “They built Interstate 80. They shouldn’t now be faced with paying tolls on a road they’ve already paid for.”

The annual U.S. House appropriations bill allocates funding for transportation, U.S. Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the following year.

The bill must pass the House and Senate in order to reach the president’s desk. Any changes must be approved by a conference committee of both chambers before being sent to the president for his signature.

House members could vote on the bill as early as Tuesday, July 24, Peterson’s press spokesman said.

Click here to read OOIDA's call to action.

– By David Tanner, staff writer