(HARRISBURG, PA) – Today Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) participated in a press conference to announce the introduction of legislation to stop the proposed plan to toll bridges on Pennsylvania’s interstate system, including the I-83 South Bridge in Harrisburg.
Senate Bill 382 would reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and void the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative.
During the press conference, Regan expressed concern for the impact the bridge tolling proposal will have on residents and surrounding communities.
“As the Senator for the 31st Senatorial District, I have many constituents that travel daily on the I-83 South Bridge that connects Cumberland County and Dauphin County across the Susquehanna River here in Harrisburg,” stated Regan. “The communities of Camp Hill, Lemoyne, New Cumberland, and Wormleysburg will all be greatly impacted by the additional congestion and traffic.”
Regan continued, “An estimated $1 to $2 fee in each direction could result in a $500 to $1,000 financial burden just for one individual to get to and from work each day. Now imagine, if you have two or three individuals in a household – this is a significant tax increase in the thousands of dollars.”
On November 12, 2020, the P3 Board, under PennDOT’s jurisdiction, supported a general 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 and did so without the statutorily required detailed analysis. It then took PennDOT three months to publicly announce the proposal.
“I do not deny that the I-83 South Bridge is in need of structural attention and funding to make it a safe travel route, but a blanket authorization by the P3 Board for PennDOT to move forward with this tolling plan is not appropriate,” said Regan. “That is why I am joining Senator Langerholc and my fellow co-sponsors of Senate Bill 382 to reform the P3 process and ensure oversight by the legislature – those of us who are elected by the people to be their voice in Harrisburg.”
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 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: Bruce McLanahan, (717)-787-8524