U.S. representative wants to halt tolls on I-80 in Pennsylvania

| 7/31/2007

A U.S. representative from Pennsylvania plans to file a bill this week to halt the conversion of Interstate 80 in the Keystone State into a toll road.

Rep. Phil English, R-PA, is strongly opposed to Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposal to increase revenue by installing toll booths along I-80 and increasing tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

English issued a press release saying he plans to introduce the Free Highway Protection Act of 2007 to “eliminate the Commonwealth’s economic incentive to toll Interstate 80” by requiring that all toll revenue go to the federal government instead of to the state.

That, he said, would ensure I-80 remains toll free.

English did not outline a specific timeframe for when the bill would be filed.

Tolling on I-80 continues to be a hot-button issue in Pennsylvania.

English and fellow U.S. Rep John Peterson, R-PA, drafted a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to voice their concerns about Rendell’s proposal.

In the letter, the representatives called the proposal “egregious because instead of using revenues derived from tolling I-80 on improvements or lane expansions that would benefit motorists using the highway, it would fund transit programs in unrelated areas of the state.”

Rendell has said that one of his goals with increasing highway revenue is to fund mass transit programs.

– By David Tanner, staff writer