Commissioners to Send Letter to Fed, ‘Say No to Tolling I-80’

CLEARFIELD – After Clearfield County Commissioner Mark McCracken briefed his fellow commissioners on an Interstate 80 tolling symposium he attended, the board of commissioners voted to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking them to turn down a request to toll I-80.

McCracken said the symposium in Clarion featured state representatives and Congressional representatives, as well as business owners, local elected officials and concerned citizens.

He said that the resounding message is that Act 44 is very flawed legislation.

Act 44 is the legislation recently signed by Gov. Edward G. Rendell in July. Act 44 is the result of a study that was done on the transportation crisis in Pennsylvania. That study looked at ways the problems facing roads, highways, bridges and mass transportation as well as ways to possibly solve those problems.

Act 44 authorizes a 50 year partnership between the Penna Turnpike Commission and PennDOT. The PTC would in essence lease I-80 from PennDOT, paying PennDOT an estimated $1.67 billion per year. That money would be used to fund road and bridge rehabilitation across the state. Money from the Pennsylvania Turnpike is currently being designated to help fund the public transportation crisis.

“First off, it needs repealed,” said McCracken. “It can’t be fixed.”

McCracken said that the recommendation from Congressman John Peterson was that concerned business owners, elected officials and the public send letters to Mary Peters of the USDOT.

“The one thing that was … moving was listening to the business owners who will be affected negatively,” said McCracken.

“We’re making so much progress in economic development and toursim … this has a real negative potential on them,” added McCracken.

The commissioners voted to approve sending a letter to Peters asking her to turn down the request to toll I-80.

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