Pennsylvania motorists are already paying the second-highest fuel taxes in the nation. If you’re looking for another present-day example of blatant highway robbery, look no further.

On Feb. 18, 2021, PennDOT announced a toll proposal to repair and maintain the North Fork Bridge located in Brookville, Jefferson County as part of a public-private partnership. This is one of nine bridges throughout the Commonwealth, and one of four along Interstate 80.

In fact, the second public-private partnership targeted for tolling along I-80, is the Canoe Creek bridge located next door in Beaver Township, Clarion County. Thousands of residents, businesses and others use both of these bridges frequently.

As a state representative and self-employed business owner of a family-operated transportation company and a freight brokerage company, I cannot fathom why the governor and PennDOT, especially in the midst of pandemic recovery, are once again moving forward with tolling I-80 and other critical portions of our local and state infrastructure.

The people of Jefferson and Indiana counties cannot afford the crippling economic consequences of tolling our major highways and bridges, businesses operating or wanting to relocate within the I-80 corridor cannot afford this, and in the bigger picture, taxpayers across the Commonwealth cannot afford this guaranteed-to-fail revenue generating scheme.

The Jefferson County project is currently in preliminary design, and construction is anticipated to begin in 2024. The Clarion County project is currently in final design. Construction is anticipated to begin between 2023 and 2025 with a three- to four-year construction period.

If we are going to stop this tolling proposal, we need your help in the form of comments. Please use the following means to submit your comments and let PennDOT know how you would be impacted by a toll on either of these bridges:

North Fork Creek.
  o   Website: www.Penndot.gov/i80NorthFork (Scroll to bottom of page to access link to submit comment.)
  o   Email: i80NorthFork@pa.gov
  o   Phone: (814) 796-5009
  o   Mail: PennDOT District 10-0,
c/o I-80 North Fork Bridges Project,
2550 Oakland Avenue,
Indiana, PA 15701-3388

Canoe Creek.
  o   Website: www.penndot.gov/i80CanoeCreek (Scroll to bottom of page to access link to submit comment.)
  o   Email: i80CanoeCreek@pa.gov  
  o   Phone: (814) 201-9939
  o   Mail: PennDOT District 10-0,
c/o I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project,
2550 Oakland Ave.,
Indiana, PA 15701-3388

In the meantime, my legislative colleagues and I will be actively engaged with PennDOT and other relevant stakeholders to convince the state agency that these two projects should not be part of the Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative.