(HARRISBURG) – State Senator Devlin Robinson (R-37) today issued the following statement in response to the PA Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan to toll nine bridges, including the I-79 bridge near Bridgeville, Allegheny County:
“I am deeply concerned about the impact these tolls would have on our regional economy, local residents and safety on other highways as drivers take other routes to avoid tolls. Without input from the public and local elected officials, PennDOT unveiled a plan that lacked any information on the criteria that led to deciding which bridges to toll.
“As one of the fastest developing areas in Allegheny County and Southwest Pennsylvania, this proposal would have catastrophic effects on the current and future business development in a region that has seen recent growth and significant investments. Not only does this proposal reduce the ability of this region to be competitive in attracting new businesses, but it is a major deterrent to existing employers looking to expand or relocate.
“PennDOT’s proposal would also impact the safety of secondary roads and bridges as 90,000 drivers that normally cross this bridge each day will now seek alternate routes. Any increase in traffic will certainly stretch alternate routes beyond their capacity, restrict the flow of traffic in surrounding cities, towns and boroughs and create serious safety concerns for drivers and first responders.
“While I certainly support infrastructure improvement, we cannot place the burden of funding this project on the backs of travelers and employers at a time when our region and its citizens cannot afford to bear additional costs or tax increases during a pandemic. I firmly oppose this funding proposal and I am committed to working together with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc Jr. and my Senate colleagues in a bipartisan manner to find other ways to address funding discrepancies.”
Contact: Elizabeth Weitzel