HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – Since PennDOT announced the P3 major bridges initiative last November. The projected tolling of nine bridges across the commonwealth over the next 30 years has received major backlash.
Wednesday, state representatives gathered in Harrisburg to discuss alternatives to PennDOT’s major bridge P3 initiative, including the “DRIVE smart Act”. 35th District Senator Wayne Langerholc’s proposed alternative seeks more transparency out of PennDOT, Langerholc said it calls for innovative federal financing as a better alternative to repair major bridges on the interstate system.
Langerholc was joined in the state’s capital by 25th district senator of Jefferson County, Chris Dush.
Dush said he fears the damage these tolls will cause will affect not only drivers on the roadways, but surrounding areas will also see spikes in traffic, as drivers will try to avoid these tolls.
“They have not done a look at the economic impact. They have not looked at the impact on the local community,” Dush said.
Within the “DRIVE Smart Act” is a proposed “Grant Application Revenue Vehicles” program, or, “GARVEE” bond which would pay for these bridges through the federal highway administration. The GARVEE bond is currently used in 27 states across the country.
“In 2021-22, Pennsylvania will receive 1.9 billion dollars from the federal highway administration. This plan is to take a small portion of those yearly allocations, and devote it to the GARVEE bond,” Langerholc said.
With a median family income of $20,000 less than the rest of the state, Dush believes those fees will add up rather quickly.
“$41,000 income or less, and you’re increasing the taxes on those individuals buy $1000 a year? Think about that for a moment,” Dush said.