Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Despite being turned down the first time, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to reapply for approval to toll Interstate 80. Last September, the Federal Highway Administration denied a request to convert I-80 into a toll road, noting proceeds could not be used to fund improvements on other highways as had been proposed by the governor. Officials from the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT recently met with their federal counterparts to talk about a new plan. Commission spokesman Bill Capone says one of the main issues discussed in that session was the fair market value of I-80. He says, “They wanted to see more supportive information in terms of the way those rental payments...how they were arrived at in terms of is it the appropriate amount of rent for leasing I-80 from PennDOT." Capone says the commission is working to satisfy that and other concerns, and plans to resubmit its tolling application – perhaps within months. Opponents of tolling I-80 say it would hurt local economies and put a strain on other roads. They insist there are better options for raising cash for construction projects.