Pennsylvania truck drivers oppose nine toll bridges
The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA) is concerned about the cost to carriers to upgrade nine of the state’s bridges.
The PMTA has been strongly opposed to the proposal to cover the costs from tolls on these bridges since its introduction in November 2020.
Representatives say the public has not been informed of the costs. They are sure that the plan will harm the trucking industry, local businesses and Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness.
“Our DOT and the Governor have been pushing ahead with the bridge toll proposal,” said Rebecca Oyler, president and CEO of the PMTA. “And we’ve been fighting that.”
PennDOT has launched a public-private partnership called the Major Bridge P3 to use private investment to generate targeted revenue for infrastructure improvements. All the bridges in question were built between 1955 and the late 1960s—run along interstate highways; four on the I-80 and one each on the I-78, I-79, I-81, I-83 and I-95.
Their selection criteria included whether construction could be completed within two to four years and whether tolling could make the projects financially viable.
PennDOT’s plan calls for the installation of electronic tolling equipment to raise funds to cover an $8.1 billion funding gap for planned upgrades.
Suggested toll fees are between $1 and $2 for passenger cars and approximately $10 for commercial vehicles. Based on this assumption, the PMTA estimates that tolling of one bridge will add $5,000 per year to the cost of driving each truck twice a day.
PMTA encourages public participation in projects
On their website there is a post with public hearings and email contacts for public hearing dates for each bridge. A hearing on the I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges project will take place on May 12. It is expected that its cost would be 40 million dollars.
According to Governor Tom Wolf’s November 15 announcement, Pennsylvania is to receive more than $13 billion over the next five years under the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act for road and bridge repairs.