Friday, September 12, 2008

I-80 toll issue is DEAD!!!!

The Times Leader reported that the Federal Highway Administration rejected the notion that I-80 should be tolled.

"The Federal Highway Administration said its decision to reject that plan was based, in part, on questions about whether the amount of money that would be paid by turnpike commission to the state Transportation Department was based on an “objective market valuation” of the highway.

“There is simply no evidence that the lease payments are related to the actual costs of acquiring an interest in the facility,” said Tom Madison, the federal highway administrator." (Times Leader, 2008).

In other words, Fast Eddy Rendell's proposal was shut down by the feds because the revenues from the tolls did not match up to what the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania wanted to spend on the roads. In other words the Federal Highway Administration saw this as a porkbarrel fund, which goes to what I was saying when I ran for office:

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania generates sufficient revenue from gas taxes and other sources of funding to maintain its roads, but wastefully spends those funds. Perhaps governor Rendell and Pennsylvania state lawmakers should learn how to be more responsible with tax dollars rather than creating an additional burden on taxpayers... I am against penalizing taxpayers for the legislators’ misuse of tax dollars.

The Federal Highway Administration made the right decision, but Ed Rendelliberal is still pushing for a solution to cover the cost of road improvements while writing blank checks to his buddies. Ed, as an accountant, let me give you some advice on how to feasibly solve the problems with PA roads:
  • Stop writing blank checks to your cronies
  • Stop using funds appropriated for road improvement for other things, like scarfing down cheesesteaks (on our tax dollars) before an Eagles game
  • Stop pushing for infrastructure development legislation on the basis that you're "eventually going to get the money". This kind of mentality (I'll write the check now and hope I get paid in time for it to clear) in accounting and business lingo is known as the inability to control cash flow - it's a fancier way of saying you're mishandling our money - and this is the same kind of mentality that causes many small businesses to go out of business. Bigger companies that make this mistake open themselves up to bankruptcy and fraud charges. I wonder what will happen to our state if Eddy keeps making this problem recur - It's a rhetorical question, folks. He's going to blame the republicans for the flaws in his own policies.
  • Cut wasteful spending, and you'll find ways to afford the infrastructure repair.
  • Increase the tax base by investing in economic development: bring in more businesses, bring in more jobs, and you will have additional funds without raising taxes.
  • Roll over fat boy and put someone who doesn't like pork in charge.

At least we have some bi-partisan applause of the fed's decision:
U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke: “I applaud the Federal Highway Administration for rejecting the application to toll on I-80. As I have said before, tolling on I-80 would negatively affect residents throughout Pennsylvania, but especially those in the Northeast. We must invest in projects that will benefit Pennsylvanians, and tolling on I-80 would have done just the opposite. I appreciate the effort of the Federal Highway Administration to review the application and appropriately deny tolling on I-80.”

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton: “As Mayor of Hazleton and a member of the Alliance to Stop I-80 Tolling, I am very pleased to learn that the Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have decided against the tolling of Interstate 80. The affects of tolls on I-80 would have been terrible for Hazleton and the surrounding area. The businesses, consumers and visitors to the area all would have suffered as a result.”

State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township: “If this proves to be the end of the misguided attempt to toll I-80, the federal rejection comes as a major relief to area motorists, workers, and employers. Because Pennsylvania cannot afford to back away from the obligation to fix dangerous bridges and repair deteriorating roads, the search must begin for a more economically acceptable and fiscally responsible way of funding transportation improvements. The lesson from this is that it is too large a burden to put on just one part of the state. We must take the time to do it right – rushing to unload the Pennsylvania Turnpike, without extensive details publicly disclosed and without public support earned, will likely be substituting one bad decision for another.”

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