OOIDA is urging its members and the public to attend a series of public meetings in Pennsylvania regarding the proposed tolling of Interstate 80 in the state.
The first two meetings in a series of eight are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 7.
The purpose of the public meetings, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, is to provide information and receive public input about the conversion of I-80 to a toll road.
State transportation legislation signed in July by Gov. Ed Rendell set the ball in motion for I-80 tolls, but tolling authority requires approval from the Federal Highway Administration. FHWA has not yet signed off on the proposal and there are several actions by state and federal lawmakers to prevent the interstate from being tolled.
U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, wants to halt interstate tolling. He filed an amendment to a transportation appropriations bill – which mirrored a Senate amendment by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX – to halt three of FHWA’s tolling programs for interstates, specifically the programs aimed at tolling existing highways.
U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-IA, has filed legislation that would require states to repay the Highway Trust Fund for the cost of an interstate if tolling is enacted on an interstate.
The turnpike commission signed a 50-year agreement in mid-October to lease I-80 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Each meeting will last from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., conducted in an open-house format. The public can view informational materials and discuss the proposal one-on-one with project staff. Formal presentations by transportation officials are scheduled at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at each meeting.
Dates and locations are as follows:
- Wednesday, Nov. 7, Clarion High School, 219 Liberty St., Clarion, PA
- Wednesday, Nov. 7, Clearfield Area High School, 2831 Washington Ave., Clearfield, PA
- Thursday, Nov. 8, Bellefonte Area Middle School, 100 N. School St., Bellefonte, PA
- Thursday, Nov. 8, Dubois Country Club, 10 Lakeside Ave., Dubois, PA
- Nov. 12, Milton Area High School, 700 Mahoning St., Milton, PA
- Nov. 12, Mountain Laurel Resort, Rt. 940, White Haven, PA
- Nov. 19, Notre Dame High School, 60 Spagenburg Ave., East Stroudsburg, PA
- Nov. 19, Grove City College, 100 Campus Drive, Grove City, PA
Additional meetings will be scheduled in the new year, a turnpike spokesman told Land Line.
Display materials from the public meetings are available online at www.paturnpike.com/I80 from Nov. 7 through Nov. 20.
People wishing to comment in writing can send comments to:
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
c/o Joe Hlivia McCormick Taylor, Inc.
101 Innovation Boulevard Suite 206
State College, PA 16803
– By David Tanner, staff writer