The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected Pennsylvania’s application to toll Interstate 80 and Gov. Ed Rendell today said he’s calling for a special legislative session to find state transportation funding.
The state will have to fill a $470 million funding gap that begins with the 2010-11 fiscal year, the governor said. The U.S. DOT’s rejection of tolls on I-80 nullifies Act 44. The law allows the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to manage the interstate tolls and requires it to make payments to the state to fund transportation projects.
The commission already had paid about $2 billion to the state as of January. Tolls were expected to add $60 billion to the transportation budget over the 47-year life of Act 44. PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission first applied to toll I-80 in 2008, following the state legislature’s passage of Act 44.
The governor today said he’s considering all options, including turnpike lease deals, increased taxes and fees, and gross profit taxes on oil companies operating in Pennsylvania.
“There’s no free ride and we shouldn’t be afraid to tell people that,” Rendell said.