SNOW SHOE TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY – A spokesperson for Governor
Rendell said a decision on whether to toll Interstate 80 will not come
down Tuesday. Many expected the decision might come then because the
Governor is meeting at 3:30 with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray
LaHood trying to sway him to approve the tolling proposal.
The federal Department of Transportation has been saying since the start of the year a decision was imminent, but there is still no indication which way they are leaning. One group who hopes they kill the tolling proposal for a second time, truck drivers.
“Being that interstate 80 is one of the, well is the primary East/West artery nationwide, with connections from New York City to San Francisco, I would say there not going to have a whole lot of choice,” Truck driver Christopher Bertram said.
If the nation’s Transportation Secretary signs off on the tolls many truck drivers said they have no choice but to open their wallets.
“A big rig, you're talking about we're paying for our own fuel, these roads do cruise control about 70 miles an hour, so it’s worth the $200s,” Charles Posta, a truck driver from Atlanta, said.
Locals could see the costs of these tolls passed on when they shop.
“We’re out of state, and you have to get freight up here to Pennsylvania, and we're paying extra money out of our pockets to get your stuff here,” Posta said.
One Centre County Official said Tuesday; the tolls could have the biggest impact in and around Happy Valley.
“We are smack dab in the middle of this, whether you're traveling east or traveling west, Centre County is caught in a bad situation,” Centre County Commissioner Steve Dershem sasid.
Governor Rendell has used potential toll revenue to fill out his transportation budget. That is not sitting well with truckers either.
“If you're going to toll a road, you need to put the money back into the road, not just to fill out a more general transportation budget,” Bertram said.
For now, truckers will enjoy traveling down a toll-less Interstate 80. Congressman Glenn Thompson has asked for a meeting with Secretary LaHood. Thompson wants to know why a final decision has taken so long.
Stay with WTAJ News for continuing updates on the I-80 tolling debate.