Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tolling I-80 A No-Go and Northeastern Pennsylvania The Ugly Duckling

As the Associated Press writes about Northeastern PA being key to control of Congress Karin Andren of the Patriot News reports that the Feds are going to reject the tolling of I-80.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected Pennsylvania's plan to toll Interstate 80, according to two sources with knowledge of the application. For months, the Federal Highway Administration has been poring over Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposal to remake I-80’s 311-mile, east-west track into a northern sister to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Sources say Rendell is expected to be notified of the decision today or tomorrow. They said the application will be rejected because it would violate language in a federal transportation law that would require money from I-80 tolls to be used only for that roadway.

The Rendell administration's plan would use the toll money to fund transportation initiatives statewide.

Just as Paul Kanjorski reportedly sunk Chris Carney's chance for a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee Robert Casey remained wishy-washy about the plan as reported by Becky Polaski of the Ridgway Record.

EMPORIUM – The debate over whether to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road continues to be argued across the state and residents asked Senator Bob Casey, Jr. about his stance on the matter when he visited Emporium yesterday afternoon.

“I don’t know what the federal government could do,” Casey said. “We don’t vote on it.”

Casey remarked that if he had a vote he would want to see some economic data and analysis showing the benefits that would be gained from adding tolls to Interstate 80.

“There’s a big debate about that, but I haven’t seen any conclusions with regard to what the studies show about the impact,” Casey said.

In particular, individuals stressed to Casey the concern that adding tolls to Interstate 80 would cause more vehicles to use other routes across the state, increasing the cost for those roads to be maintained.

Senator Casey seems to be in the dark about alot of issues. As reported on PAPundits Casey supported continued funding of Acorn.

I called Senator Robert P Casey Jr’s DC office, but no one answered. I then called the DC toll free number, was put through to voicemail after hearing a message saying there was extremely high call volume, then a recording said the inbox was full.

Then I called the Harrisburg office, and again, no one answered. I finally got an unimpressive witch to answer on the Hburg toll free line. I asked her what Casey’s defense was for continuing to support the corruption of ACORN. She seemed annoyed, and said that Casey voted against the Johanns Amendment (#2355 to H.R.3288) because it “went too far” and that criminal activity should be tried in court. She further stated that the statement Casey gave them (presumably to read to angry voters) said that the Amendment was to prevent ACORN from getting any money. I corrected her and told her that it only prevents ACORN from getting money from HUD. She declined “to argue” with me, but said she’d take my comments on the matter. I told her, “This crap right here, him supporting a corrupt organization, this is exactly why I changed my party affiliation to Republican last year after being a Democrat since I was 18. And this crap, this is exactly why he’s FIRED.”

She simply said in her monotone voice, “Okay,” then hung up.

Here's another example demonstrating Senator Casey's lack of familiarity with legislation he votes on. ProLife PA by Sue Cirba writes about Casey's apparent attempt to promote "Buy American" AFTER he voted for the stimulus bill that didn't protect American jobs.

Senator Bob Casey appeared on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren yesterday on Fox TV. According to Casey, "Well, there's a section of the recovery bill where dollars go to companies that are creating clean energy jobs. The problem we have now is that we've got lots and lots of companies that are benefiting, but unfortunately, too many of them are overseas in China and other places around the world. We want to make a correction to the recovery bill so that we're creating American jobs with American tax dollars." Sue Cirba; Bob Casey voted for the stimulus bill!. Was this loop hole in a part of the bill Casey read or the part he didn't read? Isn't this akin to closing the barn door after the million dollar stallion escaped? Casey has long been blindly promoting everything Obama wants. Perhaps Casey will learn a lesson from this experience and take a more thorough look at the health care bill before voting for it. Perhaps Casey should seriously consider Bart Stupak's objections to Obama's health care bill before Casey makes another huge blunder.

All of this post brings me back to the point that Northeastern Pennsylvania doesn't get the attention it deserves even from homegrowns. Kanjorski disses Carney in the name of Philadelphia and Casey sits on the sideline. This Opinion in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce promoting the tolling of I-80 and this article highlighting the support of SEPTA and the AFL-CIO from Philadelphia to toll I-80 demonstrate the impotence of the seniority Kanjorski claims he professes time and time again. Never mind that Philadelphians stick up for whats best for them, Kanjorski's vote sustains their actions.

Kevin Blaum wants us to believe that Kanjorski did the right thing by voting against Carney if he didn't have the support of the rest of the committee. Mr. Blaum couldn't be more wrong on this issue. From all perspectives it appears Kanjorski doesn't have enough juice to persuade the members of the Appropriations Committee to support Carney. Kanjorski had to rely on the coattails of John Murtha and Charlie Rangel for "sap from the tree" to feed the "district family".

Combine that problem with Casey's blind support for Obama policies and inept posturing on Northeastern Pennsylvania issues its no wonder we are relagated to feeling like the Ugly Duckling.

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