Fly by night transportation plan

Remember about a month ago, when Rep. Geist received a letter from the US Department of Transporation stating that I-80 could not be tolled under the Interstate Reconstruction Program for use on other roads, and that it would mean that PA loses federal support for I-80? The Turnpike Commission and Governor’s office responsed saying they would find another program.

Remember a few weeks ago, when we warned lawmakers that the Value Pricing Program and other federal programs wouldn’t allow tolling I-80 in it entirety and using the money to fund mass transit? The Turnpike Commission and Governor’s office responsed saying they would find a loophole.

Didn’t it seem that the Tunpike Commission had another plan and inside info to toll I-80 that no one knew about? Well guess what – they didn’t. From Capitolwire:

HARRISBURG (July 31) – Top officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Turnpike Commission wrote to federal authorities last week to alert them to the state’s plan to toll Interstate 80.

The letter said it would seek federal approval for tolling the 300-plus-mile highway under either the Interstate Reconstruction Pilot Program or the Value Pricing Pilot Program. Those tolling options were created by federal transportation legislation enacted in 1991 and 1998.

Turnpike Commission CEO Joseph Brimmeier told Capitolwire that his agency, working with PennDOT, would defer to the Federal Highway Administration, if it “would suggest that [the tolling plan] go under one or the other” program.

“We just don’t know yet,” he said.

Brimmeier may as well just say, “HA! HA! fooled you all, we don’t have a clue how we can do this.”