Representative Sam Smith
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Date: April 6, 2010 Contact: Stephen Miskin (717) 787-3845
E-Mail: [email protected]
Plan To Toll I-80 Rejected; Another Pothole Needs Filled
House GOP Leader gratified U.S. Dept. of Transportation listened
HARRISBURG – House Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County) today expressed some relief at the decision by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to deny the third application to toll Interstate 80 (I-80). The application was submitted by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) as authorized by Act 44 of 2007. Smith voted against the proposal.
"Tolling I-80 was just not in the interests of Pennsylvania," Smith said. "Many legislators had concerns and voiced them on the floor before the vote. We also expressed those concerns, with supporting evidence, in correspondence to Secretary LaHood… he listened and it worked."
At a Capitol news conference today, the governor announced the federal government’s decision and called for a special session on transportation funding to address the revenue shortfall created by the tolling rejection.
"If a special session is called, House Republicans will participate; it provides an opportunity to focus on the issue and that is definitely needed now. Our caucus has been willing to deal with varied transportation issues since 2004 when the public transit funding ‘crisis’ was created," Smith said. "House Republicans have long advocated long-term funding solutions which include public-private partnerships, cost-cutting measures, ensuring adequate local funding, requiring transit riders to pay their fair share, and considering competitive contracting to help contain costs into the future."
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