The Times Leader is reporting that Governor Rendell has called a press conference for this afternoon on Interstate 80. He was looking for federal approval to collect $450 million from proposed tolls on I-80 to fund road improvements throughout the Commonwealth. He complicated those efforts with this announcement back in January that tolls would go to transit agencies all over the state while federal law limits applying collected tolls only to the I-80 corridor. He probably skipped that law class.
Take a look at the turnpike budget from 2008-2009 that posts actuals for 2007-2008. Net operating income was $347.9 million. Operating expenditures were $237.7 million. It seems that if the corrupt Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission were dismantled and tolls were modestly increased Rendell wouldn't have to apply to the feds for permission to toll. Imagine reducing the size of government including future pension payments and solving highway funding. It makes too much sense so forget it was suggested.
Let's hear from the western part of the state. WDUQ News is reporting that Democratic State Representative Joe Markosek of Monroeville, chair of the State House Transportation Committee, feels those opposed to tolling I-80 are wrong because 60% of the state's operating funds come from the 5 Philadelphia area counties and Allegheny County.
Markosek says those who are disappointed and "those who are perhaps euphoric" by the rejection need to work hand in hand to develop a sustainable funding mechanism for Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure system, and "most of the options are not pain-free
The Commonwealth is wasting taxpayer dollars on this website about Act 44.
The decision by the feds is the third rejection of proposed tolling of I-80. It is time to find a reasonable solution. Start by abolishing the embattled and patronage ladened Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Absorb the employees into PennDOT and get rid of overpaid an dulicate management positions. Synergize operations and leverage larger buying power. Markosek is a Democrat. He would never accept that proposition. Of course what would one expect when the person in charge of the committee has a B.A. What real qualifications does Markosek possess to decide how transportation funding can really be accomplished?
These are his Co-Sponsorship Memoranda.
03-29-2010 Markosek, Joseph F. Protect Senior Citizens from Improper Producer Designations
06-03-2009 Markosek, Joseph F. Special Permits for Excessive Size and Weight
05-22-2009 Markosek, Joseph F. Resolution Recognizing AARP
03-16-2009 Markosek, Joseph F. Primary Safety Belts
02-04-2009 Markosek, Joseph F. Phishing
02-03-2009 Markosek, Joseph F. Phishing
12-17-2008 Markosek, Joseph F. DUI Related Hit and Runs
Joe, how about transportation?