The Drive Smart Act aims to curb spending, increased fines as alternative to Pa. bridge tolls


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Increased fines for traffic safety violations, EV mileage fees and registration sticker reinstatements are just a few of the proposed changes that could curb the implementation of bridge tolls proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PennDOT originally proposed bridge tolls in mid-February on nine major Pennsylvania bridges including I-95′s mile-long Girard Point Bridge in Philadelphia and I-81’s John Harris Bridge.

PennDOT says tolls have successfully addressed similar needs across the U.S. but elected officials in Cumberland and York counties, including people who commute to jobs in Harrisburg, have condemned the idea.

That’s what the Drive Smart Act initiative hopes to avoid according to Pa. Senator Ryan P. Aument. The act, originally proposed by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. Chairman, Senate Transportation Committee, stands for Delivering Reforms and Investments for Vehicle Efficiency and Supporting Motor carriers, Airports, Rails & trails and Transit agencies.

In English, the act would allow the Auditor General and Treasurer to look into cost-saving measures at PennDOT, offer a vehicle registration discount to qualifying vehicle owners in seven counties who improved their air quality, reinstate the registration sticker among others.

The act would even dedicate a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide immediate relief for the design and construction of PennDOT’s highways and bridges.

In theory, PennDOT’s tolling plan sounds much simpler, installing an electronic source of revenue collection, using E-ZPass or license-plate billing. The money collected on a bridge would then go to its construction, maintenance and operation.

But the move could create additional financial hurtles for some commuters and truck drivers.

The Drive Smart Act encourages input from the public. You can submit comments or questions by clicking here.

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