Meeting reveals PennDOT has not been forthright with public, elected officials
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson on Tuesday hosted a meeting with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to voice his concerns over the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan to toll nine major bridges throughout Pennsylvania. It was revealed during the meeting that PennDOT has been in consultation with FHWA for more than a year and recently filed paperwork expressing its interest in receiving more than $5 billion in financing for the projects.
“Several lawsuits have been filed across the Commonwealth, suggesting that PennDOT has not followed its own guidelines for public comment. Tuesday’s meeting with the Federal Highway Administration confirmed that PennDOT had been talks with the federal government for nearly a year prior to even being authorized to look at tolling,” Rep. Thompson said. “PennDOT is merely providing lip service to public input and has always been moving towards tolling, regardless of feasibility, public safety, or economic sense. This is a betrayal of the public trust and it must be stopped.”
Rep. Thompson, a strong opponent of tolling interstates was instrumental in convincing the FHWA to deny the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the ability to tolling Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania nearly a decade ago. According to a report published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Turnpike is installing gantries to collect tolls for PennDOT along the nine bridges.
“I’m not sure what’s more shocking: the fact that the Pennsylvania Turnpike failed to collect $104 million in tolls last year, or that PennDOT knows this and still wants to put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house,” Rep. Thompson said.