HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Senate Transportation Committee is outraged after the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that its accepting bids for tolling existing bridges on the interstate system.
Senator Wayne Langerholc says they were blindsided, especially after spending the entire month of June negotiating a responsible budget with the Wolf Administration.
“The ink is not even dry on the budget yet. I think it’s fairly disingenuous. That we were able to allocate a significant amount of money, $279,000,000 to be exact to transportation projects” said Langerholc.
Despite the allocation PennDOT announced that they’re still requesting qualifications for their Major Bridge P3 Program.
The initiative would put tolls on 9 bridges statewide, including one on I-80 in Jefferson County to achieve the same goal, but out of the pockets of Pennsylvania drivers.
“There is a different way to do this rather than just expecting residents of the state of PA to continue paying a fee, or a tax, or a toll. It’s just like it doesn’t matter to them and they’re going to move forward and just continue to put it on the backs of hardworking Pennsylvanians. Which I think is absolutely ridiculous. And I am absolutely outraged about it,” said Langerholc.
According to Langerholc, when he was first named chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, PennDOT said they’d be willing to listen to any kind of alternative to tolling. But says now when they’ve put one forth…
“It’s like its just falling on deaf ears. And I don’t know what it’s going to take to get there attention. Is it a lawsuit? I don’t know,” said Langerholc.
Langerholc says today’s announcement was especially frustrating after his committee has included PennDOT in the process every step of the way.
“We didn’t even receive the courtesy of a heads up. There was an email hours before they were going to do this,” said Langerholc.
Langerholc says he’s been fighting this since he was first named chairman, and will continue to at all costs.
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