WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —Senator Jake Corman called on Governor Wolf to end the project that would add a toll to the I-80 Bridge over the Lehigh River.

According to PennDOT’s website, the I-80 bridges over the Lehigh River carry an average of 27,400 vehicles per day connecting Carbon and Luzerne counties. Now they say the bridges are approaching the end of their serviceable lifespans.

Ron Young, a district press officer from PennDOT District 5, says there’s “traditional style deterioration” from wear and tear thanks to weather and salt.

The I-80 Lehigh River Bridge Project is one of nine bridges being evaluated for a bridge toll initiative called “Major Bridge P3” which would charge drivers a fee when passing a specific point to pay for the construction and operation of the bridge. Senator Jake Corman says a toll doesn’t solve the transportation problem in the state.

He says one way to fund the bridge repairs is by taking the state police funding that’s currently in the motor license fund, which would free up $650 million. Corman said today, “The state police obviously need to be funded, we’re going to fund the state police, but we should fund them through the general fund which is the general appropriations bill and budget.”

Corman says the tolls will negatively impact local residents who are heading to work each day and lead to more traffic and damage on the side roads.

Eyewitness News reached out to Governor Wolf’s office for a response to Corman’s statements stating in part, “If tolls aren’t the correct answer, the governor welcomes a discussion on any alternative plans that fund our roads and bridges and close our $8.1 billion annual bridge and road projects funding gap and sustainably fund the state police.”

PennDOT says the plan is in the early stages and they’re working with local communities to see how the project would impact them.

An in-person public hearing to receive public testimony on the I-80 bridge project has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. To 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Mountain Laurel Resort, 81 Treetops Circle, White Haven, PA 18661.