CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Strongly opposing PennDOT’s project that will result in tolling the I-83 South Bridge, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners signed a resolution.
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The bridge spans the Susquehanna River connecting Dauphin to Cumberland County. According to Commissioner Gary Eichelberger, the project would be catastrophic to residents, businesses, and local roadways in both counties.
“The increased traffic, by those avoiding the tolls, will result in overflow to state, local and municipal roadways on the West Shore, already overburdened by vehicle congestion,” Eichelberger said.
PennDOT understands and appreciates the Commissioners’ concerns, and we agree that the I-83 South Bridge is a vital transportation link, crucial to the movement of people and goods. However, this bridge was built in 1961 and is reaching the end of its lifespan. We have spent millions of dollars repairing it over the last several years. The reality is that Pennsylvania faces a growing $8.1 billion annual highway and bridge funding gap, and bridge tolling can provide the funds to repair or replace these costly bridges without using PennDOT’s current funding. If South Bridge, with an estimated cost of up to $650 million, would need to be funded through traditional means, it would wipe out a full year of interstate project funding and nearly one-third of PennDOT’s current $1.9 billion annual overall construction program, which would limit regional projects across the state as well.
PennDOT appreciates that the Commissioners are in support of alternative funding solutions put forth by the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), and we are looking forward to working with the legislature to move these solutions forward. In the meantime, the need to replace the South Bridge remains. We need to modernize our approach to transportation funding in Pennsylvania and leverage state-level solutions like the Major Bridge P3 initiative so that we can maximize what we have and build for the future.
Rather than moving forward with the project, the board suggests that PennDOT should work with the state legislature to develop a statewide funding solution that would address the transportation needs in a more sustainable manner.
To view the full resolution sign by the board, click here.