Legislation would prevent PennDOT from imposing new bridge tolls

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The state Senate recently passed legislation that would prevent the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from imposing new tolls on existing bridges with a Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3).

Senate Bill 382 was amended to include a bipartisan compromise and avoid Gov. Tom Wolf vetoing the bill.

Under the bill, PennDOT would be required to publish a detailed analysis and distribute a copy of the P3 Board’s resolution. A 30-day public comment period would be required before the P3 Board’s voting meeting.

The bill also gives the General Assembly more time to assess any transportation projects passed by the P3 Board.

The PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative would be rescinded, and the scope would be limited to the nine candidate bridges without user fees.

PennDOT would be permitted to keep the preliminary designs and engineering plans for the bridges.

“I had serious concerns with PennDOT’s authority to essentially tax and appropriate funds without additional oversight from the General Assembly,” state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-Bedford/Cambria), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said. “At a time when the price of gas is hitting historic records under the Biden Administration, we had to stop PennDOT from adding more costs on Pennsylvania’s hardworking families.”