(HARRISBURG) – State Senator Devlin Robinson (R-37) joined Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-46), local elected officials and business leaders to condemn the plan by the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to toll nine bridges, including the I-79 bridge near Bridgeville, Allegheny County.
“There is no doubt about it – this so-called toll is a tax,” Senator Robinson said during a news conference today. “The focus should be on partnering with local employers and helping our economy grow. The focus should not be on putting an undue burden on this community.”
PennDOT claims that tolling the bridges is needed because funding for road and bridge repairs that is derived from a gas tax has decreased significantly.
“We are in the middle of a recession,” Senator Robinson said. “If you believe that we are going to pull out of this pandemic, if you believe that people are going to get back to work and back to their lives, then you know that revenues from the gas tax will return.”
Senator Robinson compared the tolls to the state’s Johnstown flood tax which was enacted in 1936 as a temporary tax to help the victims of the devastating Johnstown flood. Pennsylvanians still pay that tax today.
“It was President Regan who said ‘No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear’,” Senator Robinson said. “We have experienced that firsthand in Pennsylvania. 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 alternative ways to address funding discrepancies.”
Contact: Elizabeth Weitzel