STATE COLLEGE – With plans moving forward to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road, Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin has offered a proposal to help ease the impact that I-80 tolls would have on Pennsylvania residents.
During a news conference held today in State College, Conklin announced he has introduced a bill that would reduce the financial burden that tolling I-80 would have on Pennsylvania drivers by providing a tax credit of up to $500 for state residents using the E-ZPass electronic tolling system. The bill would allow state residents to subtract the cost of E-ZPass tolls from their gross income when filing out their state tax return.
“We need to provide some relief for those Pennsylvanians who use I-80 every day and would be facing a substantial financial burden,” Conklin said.
Conklin said that state transportation officials report that 75 percent, or three of every four, of the vehicles driving on I-80 are from out-of-state. He said the state should be able to give that one vehicle out of four driven by a Pennsylvania resident a break.
“If the majority of those driving on I-80 are from out-of-state, which was a reason given by proponents for tolling I-80 in particular, then we should have a policy in place that allows in-state motorists who use EZ Pass to recoup some of the money they are losing from this plan,” he added. “It’s a commonsense proposal that will help alleviate the burden that tolling I-80 will have on thousands of Pennsylvanians.”
E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection system that uses radio frequencies to register the payment of a toll electronically and deducts the appropriate amount from a user’s pre-funded E-ZPass account. Conklin said his legislation focuses on the E-ZPass system because it would be easy to track and provide the best accountability.