Highway tolls considered to fund rail

| 2/23/2009

Regional transportation officials in southeastern Pennsylvania are studying whether to charge tolls on U.S. 422 to pay for a proposed railway line linking Philadelphia to Reading.

Officials announced the proposal during a regional planning session Friday, Feb. 20, in Reading.

According to local media, they said tolls would pay for the reconstruction and maintenance of U.S. 422 as well as the construction of the railway line.

A previous railway proposal in the same corridor stalled out in 2002 because it carried a $2 billion price tag. Officials announced Friday that they believe it could be built for $500 million.

Officials have begun an 18-month study to determine how much revenue a tolled U.S. 422 could generate.

Under the proposal, U.S. 422 would be tolled from Douglassville to King of Prussia, PA.

The section to be tolled runs parallel to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which would leave truckers and motorists fewer options to avoid paying tolls in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the tolling of existing highways and opposes the elimination of toll-free routes in proximity to other toll roads.

– By David Tanner, staff writer