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Tolls Threaten Truckers, Businesses, Communities

By on January 1, 2008

Imagine paying $400 in tolls for just one run across Pennsylvania and back. That could be the new reality for truckers if a Pennsylvania law is allowed to take effect.

The tolling of I-80 will happen in 2011 if the Federal Highway Administration gives it the green light. The Pennsylvania law was passed last summer to pay for transportation improvements around the state. The same act also raises tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike beginning in 2009.

No one disputes the need to maintain the roadways. A report for the governor’s office showed that Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the nation, and the state’s Transportation Secretary says it has 9,000 miles of highways in disrepair. But the proposed tolls will hit truckers hardest. And, if the federal government allows I-80 tolling, it could pave the way for tolls on other roadways. The Department of Transportation has given preliminary approval for tolling of

I-95 and I-70. And, tolls are being studied for I-15 and I-69.

Professional truck drivers already pay fuel taxes and fees to support infrastructure maintenance and improvement of our nation’s highways. The industry average payment is $17,500 in state and federal user fees per truck annually, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

If truckers bypass newly tolled roads, it would hurt businesses, like TA, that have invested along those interstates to serve professional drivers. (And with fewer truckstops, free parking for drivers would be at a premium.) It would also hurt those local communities along the highways that would lose tax revenue provided by those businesses.

Tell Lawmakers to Put the Brakes on Tolls

How can you help keep I-80 and other Interstates toll free? Let federal lawmakers know that tolling hurts everybody — truckers who already pay hefty fuel taxes to use the roads, businesses that must raise their prices to cover increased shipping costs, and communities that stand to lose jobs and businesses along the interstates. Ask your lawmakers to support H.R. 3510 (in the House of Representatives) and S. 2019 (in the Senate) which would put the brakes on more highway tolling.

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