Federal Government Denies I-80 Tolls

Member Group : Pennsylvania Independent

Federal Government Denies I-80 Tolls
Special session of General Assembly will address transportation funding hole

APRIL 6, 2010 | by ERIC BOEHM

There will be no tolls on Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a division of the federal Department of Transportation, on Tuesday formally rejected Pennsylvania’s application for the right to toll I-80. The decision leaves a gaping hole in the state’s transportation budget, which assumed toll revenue from I-80 for next fiscal year.

Gov. Ed Rendell said he will call a special session of the General Assembly to deal with the shortfall.

Mr. Rendell’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2010-11 includes the assumption of funding from I-80 tolls to provide $513 million to the state’s Motor Vehicle Fund, which totals $2.3 billion of the state’s $66 billion operating budget.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Rendell said the loss of potential toll revenues from I-80 will result in a loss of $310 million per year for highways and bridges, equaling enough funding to repair 300 miles of road. Mass transit funding will be cut by $160 million per year. The cuts will go into effect when the new fiscal year begins on July 1. Click here to read more.

Millions Spent to Beautify State, Capitol
Private funding and organzations already exist

They all spend money on making things pretty, pretty with taxpayer dollars.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spent $876,455 to build 15 ‘beautification’ sites along freeways from August 2008 to August 2009, said Alison Wenger, spokesperson for PennDOT . "We do the design work for the site, do the installation, and then do the maintenance for the site for a year until local services are established," she said. But PennDOT’s sites are "strictly across the highway."

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and National Resources (DCNR) awarded $20 million of taxpayer money in the form of grants in 2009, according to Christina Novak, press secretary for the department. This includes $75,000 for the Greenway Adoption and Education Program to establish a corps of volunteers to conduct four or five illegal dumpsite cleanups in greenways, or trails, and to administer the Adopt-A-Greenway Program; $63,3000 for the Regional Trail Corporation to resurface five miles of trail, improve drainage, disabled access, landscaping, project signs and other related site improvements; $46,500 to Lake Koon Development for construction of boating access, handicapped fishing pier, and parking area, installation of a floating dock; and $30,000 for Hopewell Borough to construct a basketball court. Click here to read more.

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Economic Outlook Bleak in Pennsylvania | April 7, 2010
Senator Orie Charged, Will Step Down as Majority Whip | April 7, 2010
Rohrer Comments on $450 Million Budget Hole | April 6, 2010
Number of Organ Donors Not Increasing Fast Enough | April 6, 2010
Federal Government Denies I-80 Tolls | April 6, 2010
Sources: I-80 Tolling Plan to be Rejected | April 6, 2010
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Governor Declares April Financial Education Month | April 5, 2010
Study: Soda Tax Won’t Fix Obesity | April 5, 2010
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