Senator Gordner Hails Federal Highway Administration’s Rejection of Interstate 80 Tolling Application

He commends federal officials for following the law and not bowing to political pressure

(HARRISBURG) – – State Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) welcomed today’s decision by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to reject the plan to toll Interstate 80.

“Federal law is clear as to the type of tolling projects that may be pursued on existing interstate highways, and for the third time, the FHWA rejected the tolling plan because it does not comply with federal law,” Senator Gordner said.

Senator Gordner travelled with a delegation of Pennsylvania Senate and House members to Washington D.C. in December 2009 to meet with federal transportation officials to outline their concerns with the continued efforts of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to institute tolls on Interstate 80.  He said he was pleased the delegation’s message was heard.

“The law provides that federal approval to toll interstate highways may only be granted in limited circumstances, and those criteria certainly did not apply to Interstate 80,” said Senator Gordner.

According to the law, tolling may only be granted on highways to relieve high amounts of traffic congestion, substantially reduce vehicle emissions to meet clean air standards or to undertake major construction projects along the tolled corridor.

“I and others who opposed the tolling plan because it does not comply with the law, and because of the devastating economic impact tolling would have on our area, were concerned about the political pressure by tolling proponents on federal officials in recent weeks,” Senator Gordner said.  “I am extremely pleased that the Federal Highway Administration did not bow to that political pressure.”

Senator Gordner praised the efforts of Maria Culp, President and CEO of the Central PA Chamber of Commerce and Ed Edwards, President of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, for their diligent public awareness campaigns which exposed the truly devastating economic effect tolling would have along the I-80 corridor.

“Maria, Ed and their respective chamber members understood from the beginning how detrimental tolling would be to existing businesses, and how the tolling plan would seriously hinder future economic development in our region,” said Senator Gordner.