Senate Passes Langerholc Bill to Put the Brakes on PennDOT’s Bridge Tolling Plan

April 29, 2021 8:42 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

(HARRISBURG) – On April 27, 2021, the Senate approved a plan launched by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) to reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and to void the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative.

“I remain extremely concerned with the size, scope and precedent this initiative could have on the Commonwealth,” said Senator Langerholc, who is the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “A one-page resolution from PennDOT that does not fulfill the conditions required by legislation that created the P3 statute deserves further scrutiny by the General Assembly. The Senate voted today to hit the brakes on this reckless plan. The answer for transportation funding cannot just be to raise taxes or fees on the back of hardworking Commonwealth residents.”

Senate Bill 382 will:

  • Increase transparency by requiring PennDOT to publish a detailed analysis prior to the P3 Board’s voting meeting, and mandate PennDOT to distribute a copy of the P3 Board’s resolution, with or without a user fee, within 24 hours.
  • Incorporate public input by creating a new 30-day public comment period prior to the P3 Board meeting.
  • Create checks and balances on the obscure P3 Board by clarifying any P3 project with a user fee shall be deemed disapproved unless the Governor and General Assembly approve.
  • Void the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative and require reconsideration by the P3 Board following the new process outlined in Senate Bill 382.

On November 12, 2020, the P3 Board, under PennDOT’s jurisdiction, supported an ambiguous proposal to impose user fees or tolls on major bridges throughout the interstate system.  This was the first time in the P3 Board’s history to consider a proposal with user fees.

The serious gaps in the P3 statute became clear when PennDOT finally announced the details of the proposal three months after the P3 Board meeting.  The P3 statute requires a detailed analysis prior to the meeting.

PennDOT will proceed with imposing tolls on the following nine bridges, unless the General Assembly passes Senate Bill 382:

Senate Bill 382 was passed out of the Senate with a vote of 28-19.   The legislation advances to the House for consideration.

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