WHITE HAVEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – PennDOT is proposing new tolls, but this time not on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
PennDOT’s new proposal would add a toll to several bridges in our area which would invest billions of dollars into the improvement of major bridges in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
“It would be more money and more hassle,” said Virgil Retchless of Tobyhanna.
PennDOT is proposing adding a $1 to $2 toll to several bridges statewide.
“It’s a challenge for us to fund those right now because they are large bridges, they do cost a significant sum of money,” said Kenneth McClain, Director, PennDOT Alternative Funding.
He says they just don’t have enough money to pay for them right now. But these tolls would invest between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion into the improvement of major bridges statewide.
“The tolls are already going up on the turnpike to begin with so then it’s like even more charges now,” said Jessica Lukasavage of Wilkes-Barre.
The new proposal would add a toll to bridges including I-80 Nescopeck bridges in Luzerne County, I-80 Lehigh River bridges in Luzerne and Carbon Counties and I-81 over Susquehanna River near the Great Bend/Halstead Exit.
“That funding would pay for the cost of construction, ongoing maintenance, administrative support and operations for a 30-year period. In doing so, a secondary benefit to this program will be that it protects our existing program,” said McClain.
At the end of day, drivers like Virgil Retchless of Tobyhanna say now just isn’t the time.
“Especially at a time like this, people just don’t have the money,” said Retchless.
“One or two dollars, but still, it adds up after time,” said Lukasavage.
PennDOT says we will know whether this proposal passes by the end of fall.
Some state lawmakers are already pushing back on the plan.
PennDOT has a form on their website where you can submit feedback on the project.