Business report

Legislation would prevent PennDOT from imposing new tolls on bridges

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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 (P3) transportation partnership.

Senate Bill 382 was amended to include a bipartisan compromise and avoid having Governor Tom Wolf veto the bill.

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

The bill also gives the General Assembly more time to assess any transport project adopted by the PPP Board.

The PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 initiative would be canceled and the scope would be limited to the nine candidate bridges with no user fees.

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

“I had serious concerns about PennDOT’s authority to tax and appropriate funds without additional General Assembly oversight,” said Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-Bedford/Cambria), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “At a time when the price of gas is at all-time highs under the Biden administration, we had to stop PennDOT from adding more costs to working families in Pennsylvania.”