Tolling limited-access roads a funding option

After reading Our View in the July 8 Mirror, I recalled writing you as well as a number of our elected officials with a simple solution to this ridiculous scenario of the debt being incurred by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

It is not with the feds where the problem lies, but rather the “not in my backyard” local legislators, both state and federal.

The essence of my proposal is “users” fees. If you use it, you pay for it; in other words, toll our untolled limited-access highways, removing those costs from our PennDOT highway budget.

Replace the current turnpike tolling legislation with the original tolling practices.

Those same tolling practices should also apply to the “newly” tolled limited-access roads.

That would keep the limited access fares reasonable and reduce the funding obligations from PennDOT’s roadway repair allocations.

People, as a rule, do not resent paying for something for which they receive a benefit. Most of us do resent deliberate deception.

Monies collected as tolls on a highway should stay on that highway. None of those tolls should go for any other roadway and certainly not any other purpose than maintaining, repairing or replacing the roadway on which it was paid.

Doing otherwise is absolutely deceptive and, in my assessment, dishonest and corrupt.

That is exactly what happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike as a result of the passage of Act 44.

Hundreds of millions of dollars collected on the turnpike are being diverted to PennDOT and some to other projects.

That is the essence of the concerns indicated by the feds.

Using the figures given to me a number of years ago, the monies currently allocated for maintenance for those proposed tolled roads would provide adequate funding to make all of the essential maintenance, repairs and upgrading the targeted unsafe roadways and bridges in the commonwealth over a reasonable and efficient period of time.

Also, using the proper approach, there is absolutely no need to increase transportation taxes in the state.

Time may be running out for cooperation from the chairman of the House Transpor­tation and Infrastructure Committee.

Jan Mills Sr.

Altoona

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