– Legislation recently introduced by Reps. Sheryl Delozier (R-Lower Allen), Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) and Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin) would reform the public private partnership (P3) transportation law, including the addition of provisions to halt PennDOT’s recent bridge tolling proposal unless the General Assembly approves it.
In February, PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian unveiled plans to toll nine bridges throughout the Commonwealth. Since the announcement, many questions and concerns have been raised about the specific bridges chosen, safety, timing of construction and tolling, and the economic impact.
“PennDOT’s bridge tolling plan is very suspect and appears to have been timed to prevent legislative input,” Ortitay said. “While I was not a member of the General Assembly at the time the P3 law passed, I don’t think anyone could have guessed a governor would manipulate the law to create targeted user fees that would collect money well in excess of the amount needed for a project. It is time to have robust discussion on how we fund transportation in this Commonwealth.”
“Taxpayers in the 88th Legislative District who work in the City of Harrisburg already pay three times more in Local Services Tax than anyone in the state. The proposed tolling plan would require them to pay while traveling to AND from their place of employment.” Delozier added. “The communities of Lemoyne and Wormleysburg, which would bear the brunt of the toll-avoidance traffic, are already voicing their great concern and opposition. That is why I am glad to sponsor this piece of legislation to ensure the intent of P3’s is not misused again in the future.”
“The bridge tolling proposal put forward was ill advised to say the least, and it came with more questions than answers,” Lewis said. “My constituents already pay an exorbitant gas tax and expensive tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and now, PennDOT seems to think they can afford yet another fee simply to get to work. Legislators -- who are taxpayers' voice in government -- need to put an end to this toll scheme and have a say in future PennDOT proposals."
House Bill 920
would amend Act 88 of 2012
Require the P3 board to disapprove a proposed transportation project if it involves state property and the public entity has not disclosed the specific property involved in the project.
Allow the General Assembly to disapprove a P3 project involving state property where no user fees are involved. The General Assembly would have 20 calendar days or nine voting days, whichever is longer, after the P3 board’s action to react. The timeline would reset to the next legislative session if not enough current session days exist after the P3 board’s action.
Require the General Assembly to approve any P3 transportation project which imposes user fees. If the General Assembly does not act within a year, the project would be deemed disapproved.
This legislation would apply to future P3 projects and the current bridge tolling proposal if the bill was signed into law before an agreement was reached with a development entity.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
The 88th Legislative District in Cumberland County includes Lower Allen and Upper Allen townships and the boroughs of Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, New Cumberland, Shiremanstown and Wormleysburg.
The 105th Legislative District in Dauphin County includes Lower Paxton, South Hanover and West Hanover townships.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Representative Sheryl Delozier
88th Legislative District
Representative Andrew Lewis
105th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives