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State Rep. Sheryl Delozier discusses I-83 bridge toll proposal


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    CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pennsylvania (WPMT) — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says nine of its interstate bridges in the commonwealth are in desparate need of repairs, and the way to pay for the funding needed to improve them is through tolls.

PennDOT believes the plan — which would toll nine bridges through a public-private partnership — would generate $2.2 billion over 30 years. The bridges are all more than 60 years old, which PennDOT officials believe are at the end of their useful life and need to be replaced.

One of the bridges slated for repairs is the John Harris Memorial South Brdge on Interstate 83, which connects Harrisburg in Dauphin County to Lemoyne and the West Shore area of Cumberland County. PennDOT believes construction, and tolling, wouldn’t start until late 2023-early 2024.

The ability for PennDOT to institute tolls on these bridges comes from Act 88 of 2012, and the Public-Private Partnership, or P3, which gives a private company room to toll for repairs, which then gives PennDOT the money acquired. State lawmakers say it was established in November that PennDOT would consider removing tolling as part of the P3 agreement.

“We do have a certain amount of time, legislatively, that we can put a resolution through that says, no, that’s not something we want to do,” says State Representative Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland). “The problem is these projects were announced after that deadline passed.”

Delozier represents an area of Cumberland County directly impacted by the proposed tolling. A number of Cumberland County residents commute into the City of Harrisburg for work, and use the I-83 bridge as part of their travels. She was a guest on the FOX43 Capitol Beat this week.

“We already pay three times what normal people pay as part of a local service tax,” said Delozier, referring to the tax incurred on people who work in the City of Harrisburg. “Now we’re going to tax them to get to work?”

Delozier says there has not been any discussion yet to repeal Act 88, saying the law has brought a number of positive programs to the commonwealth. She admits while the bridges need work, there needs to be more consideration into how PennDOT is budgeting its money.

“We need to restructure how PennDOT is funded and understand we can’t go back to the taxpayer every single time.”

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