The Honorable Barry J. Schoch, P.E.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Secretary Schoch,
We write in regard to an issue of great concern to our Congressional Districts and the Commonwealth as a whole. Governor Corbett has appointed you to lead the newly created Transportation Funding Commission (TFC), in order to address the Commonwealth's estimated $3.5 billion in annual transportation funding deficit. While we surely respect the task put before you and the TFC, we remain staunchly opposed to revisiting the tolling of Interstate 80 as a part of that equation.
As you are personally aware, this issue has been the cause of ongoing debate in Pennsylvania since the passage of PA Act 44 in July of 2007. Act 44 authorized the acquisition of Interstate 80 by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, to be operated as a toll road in exchange for lease payments made to PennDOT. To date, no state has successfully converted a facility into a toll road. Ad you are also aware, Pennsylvania has failed on three sparate occasions, under two separate federal Administrations, to garner approval.
The Interstate Highway System has enhanced the flow of goods and services throughout the country and has improved our economy and the lives of our citizens, while allowing Pennsylvania to remain competitive in a global market. Tolling Interstate 80 will do nothing more than cripple Pennsylvania in an already ailing economy.
Moving forward, we respectfully request that you remove I-80 tolling from the TFC agenda and focus on more realistic and sustainable means of funding the Commonwealth's roads and bridges. We understand the TFC is scheduled to meet again on May 16, 2011. We would greatly appreciate a response prior to that date.
Glenn "GT' Thompson
Members of Congress