No toll limit

My letter to the editor in the Patriot News on Turnpike tolls under the lease vs. under Act 44:

Charles Thompson’s May 25 article, “For drivers, it’s just like a tax,” compares a Pennsylvania Turnpike lease to a “tax” on motorists. While this comparison is apt, the article fails to explain (save in the endnote) that the current transportation law — Act 44 — already constitutes a “tax” on turnpike users (along with Interstate 80 drivers) through higher tolls on the turnpike to be used for other roads and for mass transit subsidies.

In fact, the toll limits contained under the turnpike lease agreement would be equal to — or lower than — what the Turnpike Commission is currently planning. Note that under current law, the Turnpike Commission faces no limits on how high they can raise tolls.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Jeff Piccola, who questioned the “fairness” of a turnpike lease without tolls (i.e. “taxes”) on I-80 drivers, are essentially saying they would rather have higher taxes on other parts of the state than lower taxes for their constituents.