HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Senate of Pennsylvania passed Senate Bill 382 on July 7, led by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R), which will stop the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from imposing new tolls on existing bridges throughout the Commonwealth.
“Bipartisan compromise was reached on my Senate Bill 382 to save over 550,000 daily motorists from paying a new toll on major bridges that drive local economies,” said Langerholc. “As elected leaders, our duty to this Commonwealth will require tremendous action to preserve our freeways for future generations.”
Langerholc introduced Senate Bill 382 in February of 2021 with the goal of reforming PennDOT’s P3 statute and bring an end to the P3 bridge tolling initiative.
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Senate Bill 382 passed The House of Representatives in November of 2021, sending it to the Senate for concurrence.
The amended bill has been approved by Governor Tom Wolf, according to the Senate Republican Communications Office, who previously stated he planned to veto the bill. After extensive negotiations, the bill was amended to include the following:
- Increases transparency by requiring PennDOT to publish a detailed analysis and requiring PennDOT to distribute a copy of the P3 Board’s resolution.
- Incorporates public comments by creating a new 30-day public comment period prior to the P3 Board’s voting meeting.
- Creates a checks-and-balance by reducing the scope of PennDOT’s power to optional user fees for new infrastructure and ensuring the General Assembly has more time to assess any transportation projects passed by the P3 Board.
- Rescinds the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative and limits the scope to the nine candidate bridges (instead of any major bridge in the State) without user fees.
- Saves taxpayer dollars by allowing PennDOT to preserve the preliminary designs and engineering plans for the nine candidate bridges.
“I had serious concerns with PennDOT’s authority to essentially tax and appropriate funds without additional oversight from the General Assembly,” said Langerholc. “At a time when the price of gas is hitting historic records under the Biden Administration, we had to stop PennDOT from adding more costs on Pennsylvania’s hardworking families.”
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The bill’s compromise was reached after the Commonwealth Court ruled twice against PennDOT, claiming the organization had “oppressive overreach”.
The last order issued by the Commonwealth Court on June 30 ended PennDOT’s Major Bridge P3 Initiative.