The No P3 Bridge Tolling Coalition has formed to oppose PennDOT’s proposal to toll nine interstate bridges across Pennsylvania. This statewide coalition is comprised of local chambers, economic development entities, statewide business organizations, businesses, affected communities, and citizens. The Board of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce recently voted to join this growing coalition.
In 2021, PennDOT held public information sessions to provide details on the nine projects identified, which includes the Nescopeck Creek Bridge on Interstate 80 in lower-Luzerne County. Initially, the plan included tolling in both directions, but was later modified to toll each project area in only one direction. With the anticipation that some volume of traffic will divert around tolled areas, PennDOT identified diversion routes. For the Nescopeck Creek project, the diversion route is Exit 256 onto Route 93 through Nescopeck and Berwick boroughs.
While PennDOT is seeking to address infrastructure funding shortfalls, the costs to install and manage these tolls are likely to outpace revenue collected. The cost per bridge toll will be $1-$2/car and $8-$12/truck and other large wheelbase vehicles including RVs. According to the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, the cost to operate a truck in PA will increase by over $6,000 annually. These costs will be passed on to consumers, exacerbating an already inflated market. PennDOT recently announced the intention to award the contract to build and manage these tolls to an Australian company, even while affected communities and business groups are challenging PennDOT’s process.
The members of the No P3 Bridge Tolling Coalition agree that PennDOT should have sustainable sources for infrastructure funding, but the proposed tolling will cause disruptions to local communities and increase costs for businesses and consumers. Once PennDOT begins this spot-tolling, the practice is likely to be replicated in other areas across the state. Coalition members believe that PennDOT and the Wolf Administration should work with the legislature to remove non-infrastructure related costs from the Motor License Fund and find solutions that will not disrupt local communities and unfairly burden businesses.
Follow the efforts of the No P3 Bridge Tolling Coalition at facebook.com/NoP3BridgeTolls.