Help PMTA fight against Tolls in Pennsylvania
On November 12, 2020, PennDOT's Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board approved the Major Bridge P3 initiative that will institute tolls on certain interstate bridges across the commonwealth. You can read the full press release from PennDOT here.
PMTA believes that the trucking industry already pays its fair share to operate on the roadways in this state and adamantly opposes this decision from PennDOT and the P3 Board.
PMTA's Course of Action
On November 20, Senator Michele Brooks and Senator Scott E. Hutchinson issued a memo to the rest of the State Senate stating that they would be introducing a Concurrent Resolution to rescind the approval of the transportation projects adopted at the Nov. 12 P3 Board meeting. On Nov. 23, PMTA emailed all of it's members asking them to contact their representatives and let them know that they support the Concurrent Resolution to Rescind the P3 Board's Approval to Toll Bridges. PMTA encourages all impacted parties do the same and you can find out who your representatives are and how to reach them here.
On December 7, PMTA Interim President Joe Butzer sent this letter to every legislator in the Pennsylvania General Assembly voicing the Association's opposition to the decision to toll bridges and implored legislators to support the Concurrent Resolution proposed by Senators Brooks and Hutchinson.
On December 11, Butzer met with representatives of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Alliance for Toll Free Interstates (ATFI), PMTA's lobbyists Milliron & Goodman and other invested parties to discuss plans continue this fight against tolling. PMTA remains in constant communication with Milliron & Goodman and is committed to fight against this measure with every available resource.
UPDATE: The Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on PennDOT's P3 Bridge Tolling Initiative January 25, 2021, at 11:30 a.m.
Both Interim President Joe Butzer and Chairman Mark Giuffre provided written testimonies to the committee and spoke during the hearing. You can read Mr. Butzer's testimony here, and you can read Mr. Giuffre's testimony here.
Mr. Butzer also provided the Committee with this PowerPoint presentation that outlines the effect of Act 89 (passed in 2013) and the considerable increases it made in the cost of operating a truck in Pennsylvania.
DOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian spoke to the committee after remarks from the PMTA representatives.
PMTA is dedicated to standing up for our industry and will continue the effort to stop this bridge tolling initiative in our state.
UPDATE: On February 18, PennDOT announced the nine bridges they plan to target for potential tolling as recommended by the state’s Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Board. PMTA strongly encouraged its members to comment on the bridges that will affect their business the most.
To comment, click the link of the bridge listed below and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
- I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project (Berks County);
- I-79 Widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration (Allegheny County);
- I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges (Clarion County);
- I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges (Luzerne County);
- I-80 North Fork Bridges Project (Jefferson County);
- I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project (Luzerne and Carbon counties);
- I-81 Susquehanna Project (Susquehanna County);
- I-83 South Bridge Project (Dauphin County); and
- I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project (Philadelphia County).
Shortly after PennDOT made its announcement, Senator Wayne Langerholc, the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee released this statement in which he stated:
“I have serious concerns with PennDOT’s authority to essentially tax and appropriate funds without additional oversight from the General Assembly. At a time when transparency to our constituents is of paramount concern, we must ensure the voices of our constituents are heard and that they are involved in the process.”
There is still time contact your legislators, to let them know you oppose bridge tolling and you support Langerholc's efforts to reform PennDOT's P3 Statute.
UPDATE: On March 10, Langerholc introduced Senate Bill 382 that would require legislative authorization of any proposed transportation project with a user fee, even it is approved by the Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board that lawmakers created in 2012. The bill would be retroactive to November, bringing the current bridge tolling project back to the legislature for authorization. You can read the bill here.
On March 15, PMTA sent this letter to the Senate Transportation Committee expressing our support of SB 382.
UPDATE: On March 24, Giuffre, Butzer and new President and CEO Rebecca Oyler testified in front of the House Transportation Committee. You can read Oyler's Testimony here. Sec. Gramian, as well as representatives from the Contractors and Engineers Associations, also testified at the hearing.
UPDATE: On April 27, SB 382 passed in the Senate by a vote of 28-19, mostly along party lines. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. PMTA supports the bill and urges all invested parties to contact their Representatives and let them know that you do not support bridge tolling and ask them to vote to approve the bill.
"We commend the PA Senate for its commitment to government transparency by passing SB 382 yesterday and tapping the brakes on PennDOT’s Pathways Major Bridge Tolling P3 Initiative," PMTA President and CEO Rebecca Oyler said in a statement. "This bill requires that public-private partnership proposals in the transportation sector receive a thorough public deliberation before moving forward, including approval by the General Assembly of fees and taxes levied on Pennsylvania’s drivers. Projects like the proposed bridge tolling initiative, which would impose an enormous cost on trucking companies, must be vetted with all stakeholders for impacts that only come to light in public discourse. PMTA thanks Sen. Langerholc for recognizing this and correcting it in SB 382. We look forward to the House taking the measure up very soon."
UPDATE: On June 2, 2021, Sen. Langerholc announced SB 555, the DRIVE SMART Act, that addresses multiple levels of transportation funding in the state. It would include reforming the Public Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and voice the current bridge tolling initiative. You can read more details on the bill here.
On September 30, 2021, the House Transportation Committee held a second hearing on SB 382, where many other stakeholders testified (transcript available here). Giuffre, Butzer, and Oyler again provided testimony.
UPDATE: On November 5, 2021, the House Transportation Committee announced that it would consider the bill on November 9, and it was approved by the committee by a vote of 16-9 on that date. Also on November 9, Oyler sent a support letter to the entire House.
On November 12, Oyler and PA NFIB State Director Greg Moreland published an Op-Ed about the impact bridge tolling would have on local businesses and the state's economy.
UPDATE: On November 15, the full House of Representatives voted to amend the bill with an amendment by Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland).
UPDATE: The House of Representatives passed SB 382 on November 16 by a vote of 125-74. The bill now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
UPDATE: On February 15, PMTA filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit South Fayette Township et. al v. PennDOT. The lawsuit, which was filed on Nov. 11, alleges that the state did not follow the requirements of the P3 law in its process. PMTA's brief outlines the interests of the trucking industry in the case and the overall negative impact tolling. A hearing is scheduled to take place in Commonwealth Court on May 16.
UPDATE: On March 9, PennDOT announced that Bridging Pennsylvania Partners (BPP) was selected as the Apparent Best Value Proposer to administer the bridge tolling projects. PennDOT and BPP will begin pre-development work on the design and packaging of the bridges.
UPDATE: On May 18, in the case of Cumberland County and some of its boroughs and townships v. PennDOT and the P3 Board, Judge Ellen Ceisler granted a preliminary injunction that stopped PennDOT from proceeding with any of the following actions with respect to the Major Bridge P3 Initiative or the I-83 Bridge Project: Further executing or performing under a predevelopment agreement or other contracts; conducting studies; conducting hears or meetings; design development; right of way acquisition; tolling; constructions and; expenditure of any funds.
The Association is only as strong as its members and it thanks those of you that are already members. For those of you that are not, sign up today and help us defeat bridge tolling in Pennsylvania.