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.
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.
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