Media Advisory – Langerholc to Discuss Alternative to PennDOT’s Bridge Tolling Initiative

Senate Transportation Committee Chair Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) held a news conference at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16, on the second floor Rotunda outside the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

He discussed and called for support of the DRIVE SMART Act, Delivering Reforms and Investments for Vehicle Efficiency and Supporting Motor carriers, Airports, Rails & trails and Transit agencies. The DRIVE SMART Act was unveiled on June 2 at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

A key focus will be how the DRIVE SMART Act provides an alternative to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) P3 bridge tolling initiative by enacting legislation to authorize the PennDOT to bond under the innovative federal financing program entitled Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE).

The news conference was streamed live at pasenategop.com and https://www.facebook.com/PASenateGOP.

Contact: Nolan Ritchie, nritchie@pasen.gov

Public hearing on reforms and investments to advance transportation innovations in Pennsylvania

Senate Transportation Committee

Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9 am

Southwestern PA Commission, Pittsburgh

Public hearing on reforms and investments to advance transportation innovations in Pennsylvania


9:00 a.m.                     Opening Remarks 

9:05 a.m.                     Panel 1

  • Honorable Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive | Testimony
  • Vincent Valdes, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission | Testimony
  • Karina Ricks, City of Pittsburgh | Testimony

Questions from Committee Members 

10:00 a.m.                  Panel 2

  • Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie Mellon University | Testimony
  • Zach Kahn, Tesla – Testimony
  • Ben Bear, Spin Scooters – Testimony
  • Çetin Meriçli, Locomation – Testimony
  • Mark Spada, Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail – Testimony

Questions from Committee Members

11:25 a.m.                   Closing Remarks

Additional Testimony:

PennDOT – Testimony

Self Driving Coalition – Testimony

Langerholc Unveils an Innovative Plan Reforming and Investing in PA’s Multimodal Transportation System

(JOHNSTOWN) – State Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, held a press conference today at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

He announced the DRIVE SMART Act, Delivering Reforms and Investments for Vehicle Efficiency and Supporting Motor carriers, Airports, Rails and trails and Transit agencies.  The omnibus plan would provide reforms and investments for the Commonwealth’s multimodal transportation system.

“When the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced the nine candidate toll bridges across the state, there were concerns with the lack of transparency in the process,” Langerholc said. “The DRIVE SMART Act is my commitment to offering an alternative solution instead of a tacit approval to impose taxes, tolls or user fees on hardworking Pennsylvanians as we recover from the pandemic.” 

Additional information about the comprehensive and multi-faceted plan is available at www.SenatorLangerholc.com/drive-smart-act/.

“We have been working on this plan since I became chairman, but make no mistake, we did not do this alone. My colleagues were integral in the creation of this plan,” Langerholc said. “Because the essence of compromise is having spirited discussion and debate, I am speaking with stakeholders and asking the public to provide feedback.”

In the next couple of months, the Senate Transportation Committee will hold several hearings to collect feedback on the DRIVE SMART Act and other ideas to reform and invest in the Commonwealth’s multimodal transportation system. The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the DRIVE SMART Act online at www.SenatorLangerholc.com/drive-smart-act/.

 

CONTACT: Nolan Ritchie, nritchie@pasen.gov

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

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate today 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.

CONTACT: Nolan Ritchie

Legislation to Stop PennDOT’s Bridge Tolling Plan Passes Senate Panel

Harrisburg – The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), advanced legislation today to reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and to void the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative.

“I support critical infrastructure improvements to improve safety, mobility and our economic recovery efforts,” said Senator Langerholc.  “Our answers to fix revenue problems cannot be merely met with new taxes, fees and tolls on the backs of Pennsylvania’s hardworking families and businesses.  I welcome a broader discussion to address the transportation funding challenges facing the Keystone State.”

Senate Bill 382 (Langerholc) increases transparency, public input and a proper checks and balances on P3s, particularly when PennDOT pursues a P3 project with user fees.

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 received a party-line vote in the Senate Transportation Committee, with all Democrats voting in favor of PennDOT’s bridge tolling efforts.  The legislation advances to the full Senate.

New Legislation Puts the Brakes on Tolling PA Interstate Bridges

Harrisburg – Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, joined colleagues today to announce the introduction of legislation to stop the proposed plan to toll bridges on Pennsylvania’s interstate system.

View Senator Langerholc’s Remarks

 

View Entire News Conference

Senate Bill 382 (Langerholc) would reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and void the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative. 

“The size, scope and process of PennDOT’s P3 bridge tolling initiative are beyond the legislative intent and statutory requirements of Act 88,” said Senator Langerholc.  “This high-risk plan to toll nine bridges will counter our economic recovery efforts.  Our answers to fix revenue problems cannot be merely met with tacit approval for another tax, fee or toll on the backs of Pennsylvania’s hardworking families and residents.  Let us use this moment to have a much broader conversation on transportation funding within this great Commonwealth.”

On November 12, 2020, the P3 Board, under PennDOT’s jurisdiction, supported a 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.

Senate Bill 382 will accomplish the following:

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

Act 88 authorized the creation of the P3 Board to expedite transportation projects in Pennsylvania.  There are various P3s benefiting the Commonwealth’s transportation system, such as the construction of compressed natural gas fueling stations at transit agencies and the rapid replacement of 558 state-owned bridges. 

The Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing on January 25 to examine the loopholes of this P3 Initiative.  The Committee expects to consider Senate Bill 382 this month.

 

CONTACT:  Nolan Ritchie, nritchie@pasen.gov

Senator Langerholc Raises Serious Concerns with PennDOT’s Plan to Toll Bridges

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) unveiled a plan to toll nine existing bridges on the Interstate System in this Commonwealth through a Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3). 

Since being appointed Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee on January 13, 2021, PennDOT’s bridge tolling initiative has been a top priority of the committee.  Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.(R-35) has met with the Secretary of PennDOT, stakeholders, and held a public hearing on January 25, 2021 to address concerns regarding this initiative.  In addition, Langerholc has issued a co-sponsorship memo to introduce legislation that would bring transparency and accountability to the P3 statute (Title 74, Chapter 91).

“I have serious concerns with PennDOT’s authority to essentially tax and appropriate funds without additional oversight from the General Assembly,” said Senator Langerholc.  “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.”

Act 88 of 2012 authorized the creation of the P3 Board to expedite project delivery in Pennsylvania.  In fact, there are various P3s benefiting the transportation system, such as the construction of compressed natural gas fueling stations at transit agencies and the rapid replacement of 558 state-owned bridges.

The P3 Board, under PennDOT’s jurisdiction, supported a proposal on November 12, 2020, to impose user fees or tolls on six to 10 bridges on the Interstate System in Pennsylvania.  This was the first time in the P3 Board’s history to consider a proposal with user fees.

“I look forward to working with PennDOT to address the many transportation challenges facing the Commonwealth,” said Senator Langerholc.  “We must work together and in a bipartisan manner to find creative ways to address funding discrepancies and ensure that revenue is properly allocated to the sources it is derived for.  I welcome that transparent dialogue.”

 

Contact: Gwenn Dando

Senator Langerholc Named Chairman of Senate Transportation Committee

HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-34) has appointed Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) to chair the Senate Transportation Committee for the 2021-22 Legislative Session. 

“In this position, I look forward to strengthening our roads and bridges, airports, railroads and other multi-modal forms of transportation, which are crucial to protecting public safety and also jump-starting our economy as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 public health crisis,” Langerholc said.  “The work of the Senate Transportation Committee affects every resident in Pennsylvania, whether it involves commuting to work, moving goods from markets to consumers or visiting a Driver License Center to obtain a license.  My goal is to ensure a modern, efficient transportation system meets the needs of this great Commonwealth.”

Corman said Langerholc was chosen because of his interest in taking on new transportation challenges in his district and throughout the state.  The 35th District is a major transportation hub for the Keystone State, with interstate highways in addition to many secondary and rural roads, airports, railroads and other multi-modal forms of transportation.

“Wayne has demonstrated a broad understanding of the major issues our transportation system is facing, including the need to address our costly and unnecessary vehicle emissions requirements in many parts of the state,” Corman said.  “As chairman, I know he will work well with the members, the House and the Administration to improve our vast transportation network,” Corman said.

Langerholc, who previously served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said he looks forward to the new challenge because transportation is closely tied to jobs and the economy. 

“We need to make smarter decisions in how we invest in the future of our transportation system – it’s crucial to economic recovery and public safety,” Langerholc said.  “A long-term investment strategy must address our roads and bridges as well as airports, railroads and other multi-modal forms of transportation that make our communities stronger and more accessible.  Safe and reliable transportation isn’t simply a matter of personal convenience. It’s about jobs, economic development, quality of life, recreation, and public safety.”

CONTACT Gwenn Dando — gdando@pasen.gov