U.S. Rep schedules press conference to oppose I-80 tolls

| 9/12/2007

U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, has scheduled a press conference to further discuss his opposition to a proposal to toll Interstate 80 in his home state.

The event is set for noon on Sept. 24 on the Pennsylvania Capitol steps in Harrisburg.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association officials issued an information update to members, urging truckers to attend and show support for Peterson’s efforts to stop the tolling proposal.

“Rep. Peterson went to bat for truckers and now it’s time to show our support for his efforts and for keeping tolls off I-80,” OOIDA officials stated in correspondence to Association members on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Gov. Ed Rendell hatched the proposal for I-80 tolls in recent state budget legislation HB1590, which also contained a proposal for a 25-percent toll increase on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2009.

Rendell along with transportation officials say the Keystone State lacks $945 million each year in transportation funding.

An increased toll on the turnpike and new tolls on I-80 would help close that gap, Rendell has said.

But Peterson has stood up against the plan, introducing legislation in the U.S. House to prohibit federal funds from being used to establish tolls on I-80. For more information on that legislation, click here.

Peterson is also one of four House members who sponsored a bill to prohibit tolling on any existing interstate.

Joining Peterson to sponsor HR3510 were Rep. Phil English, R-PA, Rep. Charles Gonzales, D-TX, and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-TX.

Their legislation mirrors a Senate bill offered this week by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, which was approved as part of the chamber’s transportation funding bill Wednesday.

The upcoming event in Harrisburg begins with preparation time at 11 a.m. followed by the press conference at noon on the capitol steps.

– By David Tanner, staff writer