Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘PennDOT’

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Transportation aid report may spur debate

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

The report comes amid a stalemate over increasing funding for highway construction in Pennsylvania, and as states increasingly experiment with a vehicle-miles-traveled fee to replace long-stagnant gas tax collections.

This means tracking YOUr mileage, tracking YOU, where YOU go and HOW FAST YOU were going. Google maps knows the speed limit on the road you are on, so does the government. Your car likely already has a GPS transmitter. The government could make you install a Progressive Insurance style driving monitor.

Insurance companies and the state likely already have a data buying plan worked out.

Marc Levy ASSOCIATED PRESS HARRISBURG – A transportation funding commission is preparing to recommend how to raise billions more dollars in Pennsylvania for a 21st-century highway system, a report that will land at a politically touchy time and is expected to kick off a debate that could last years.

The report, expected this week from the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, was ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf in March to find ways to replace Pennsylvania’s gas tax.

It is expected to contain a blend of shorter-term and longer-term recommendations, including corridor tolling, goods delivery fees and higher vehicle fees and taxes, but the primary revenue-raiser will be a vehicle-miles-traveled fee that likely would take years to roll out.

The report comes amid a stalemate over increasing funding for highway construction in Pennsylvania, and as states increasingly experiment with a vehicle-miles-traveled fee to replace long-stagnant gas tax collections.

Federal statistics show vehicles are traveling more miles, but those vehicles are increasingly fuel-efficient, and more motorists are increasingly driving all-electric vehicles.

States are up against a deadline of sorts, with Ford and General Motors making major investments in electric vehicles and planning to substantially shift their fleets to all-electric vehicles by 2030 or 2035.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, said it is a difficult time to raise taxes and fees, as the economy rebounds from the pandemic, and he predicted no action by the Republican-controlled Legislature on the plan before 2023, at the earliest.

‘I don’t think it will be received well at at all right now,’ Saylor said.

He also questioned whether it will be necessary for a vehicle-miles-traveled fee to be imposed nationally, rather than state-by-state, and whether a federal infrastructure measure being discussed in Congress may lift some of Pennsylvania’s funding burden.

However, Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee, said it is better to be at the front of the line of states in making the change, rather than at the end.

It will take many months of education to get lawmakers to the point where they can embrace parts of the commission’s report, Carroll said.

‘A lot of it is aspirational, but it’s the conversation that needs to be had,’ Carroll said.

The report can expect strong support from labor unions and the highway construction industry.

But the report faces thorny politics in the Legislature.

Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said business-to-business taxes or fees being contemplated in the commission’s report could hurt the state’s economy and start-up businesses.

One of those is a proposal being contemplated for a surcharge – say, $1 or $2 – on each parcel delivery.

‘My telephone lines blew up’ from unhappy constituents when that idea made the news, Saylor said.

The parcel-delivery surcharge – under consideration in Denver and New York City – reflects a shift to a delivery-based economy, powered by trucks that are putting more stress on highways and local roads, said Bob Latham, executive director of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, a trade association of firms involved in all aspects of highway construction.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are attempting to halt a plan by Wolf’s Department of Transportation to toll up to nine major bridges.

PennDOT said the money is needed to fund badly needed upgrades at a time when the state’s current highway and bridge budget for construction and maintenance is about $6.9 billion per year, less than half of the $15billion that is needed to keep Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges in good condition and ease major traffic bottlenecks.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria, suggested that backing off the tolling plan – and adopting his suggestion to borrow the money – might engender some good will from his caucus.

And while he called transportation ‘woefully underfunded,’ he also said there is an appetite in the Legislature for reform – not necessarily for higher taxes – and that PennDOT will need to take a hard look at its own administrative costs while lawmakers consider overhauling the state’s highway maintenance funding formula.

‘Their big hope is to use this mileage-based user fee to offset the gas tax, but that’s just not the simple answer,’ Langerholc said. ‘There needs to be a holistic solution to this, everything across all levels needs to be looked at.’

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Libertarian and Green Party Being Excluded from Motor Voter Registration

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2021

Over the weekend the LPPA has received multiple concerning reports. It seems that the Libertarian and Green party are being excluded from “Motor Voter” registration access. One member provided photo evidence. Under Pennsylvania law both Minor and Major parties are to be listed as a registration option to anyone that wishes to affiliate when being issued a license at a PennDOT. As such PennDOT is in violation of Motor Voter laws since both parties had secured Minor party status in the 2020 general election.

We had hoped this was an isolated incident as it has been in the past however, we are skeptical.

The LPPA needs your help. Our Legal Action Committee is working the issue but the more reports we get, the better. If this has happened to you, please report the date and location to the LPPA immediately. Also please notify your Legislator’s constituent services. We must address ballot access issues as both constituents and a pollical party.

Please report these to both your local affiliate and

You can find your affiliate’s contact information at:

– Media Relations Commitee

mediarelations@lppa.org3915 UNION DEPOSIT RD # 223
HARRISBURG, PA 17109-5922
United States

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PennDOT suggests 9 bridges in the state add tolling, including one on I-79

Posted by M. C. on February 20, 2021

I suggest Pennsylvania would be better off containing…err…tolling bridges in Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

By: Rick Earle, WPXI-TV
Updated: February 19, 2021 – 5:22 PM

You might soon have to pay a toll to cross some bridges in Pennsylvania, including one in Bridgeville on I-79.

This comes as reconstruction and rehabilitation of bridges in Pennsylvania can be accelerated after a new program was approved, according to the state’s Department of Transportation.

The proposal was announced in November.Content Continues Below

Breaking: these are the 9 bridges across the state that Penndot is suggesting for tolling. One is in western Pa. I 79 in Bridgeville. #wpxi— Rick Earle (@WPXIRickEarle) February 18, 2021

Thursday, PennDOT announced the nine bridges in Pennsylvania that they are suggesting tolls be added to in order to help with transportation funding in the state. In a news release, PennDOT officials called the new tolling program “a viable near-term solution” and stated that the bridges under consideration are fairly large. They would require “significant funds to rehabilitate or replace.”

PennDOT officials also said these bridges were chosen based on the ability to make repairs within two to four years:

· I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project (Berks County)

· I-79 widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration (Allegheny County)

· I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges (Clarion County)

· I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges (Luzerne County)

· I-80 North Fork Bridges Project (Luzerne County)

· I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project (Luzerne, Carbon counties)

· I-81 Susquehanna Project (Susquehanna County)

· I-83 South Bridge Project (Dauphin County)

· I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project (Philadelphia County)

PennDOT said the tolling would be entirely electronic, using E-ZPass or license plate billing. The money collected at each bridge would be used only for the construction, maintenance and operation of that bridge. The tolling would be installed for both directions of travel and cost between $1.00 and $2.00.

The current budget for highway and bridge maintenance in Pennsylvania is about $6.9 billion per year, which PennDOT said is less than half of what’s needed to keep the roads and bridges in good condition. Officials said part of the problem is that the money collected from the gas tax hasn’t kept up with the needs for repairing or replacing roads and bridges. The gas tax was last raised in 1993.

In Pennsylvania, the average bridge is over 50 years old.

These bridge projects and the associated tolling will be looked at over the next year before any final decisions are made.

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