Friday, February 19, 2021

PennDOT wants to charge toll on I-83 bridge?

 This is getting hard to believe.

    PennDot has recently announced it needs to replace the I-83 bridge over the Susquehanna River and it wants to begin charging tolls to cross it.

    The budget for PennDOT operations, including road and bridge replacements, is astronomical now.

    I don't see PennDOT taking cost-saving measures, just increasing its equipment and not putting a lid on contractors' charges for work they do. If you want to see some real boondoggle examples, take the recent stretch in Lancaster County where construction went on for years -- not months -- after it was to be completed.

    Right here in York County we have the I-83 Mount Rose Avenue boondoggle which is way over the original over-inflated budget and years past due date for completion -- and it's still not completed.

    Years ago in its greediness PennDOT got legislation passed that allowed it to steal from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which charges tolls and paid for its own maintenance, reconstruction and bridge replacements. Now, the turnpike not only pays for its own work but must pay PennDOT too, and has, out of its own necessity, raised its tolls year after year until now it's also at astronomical levels. And the toll raising won't stop, every year for years.

    PennDOT has got to get its own house in order and learn to work within budgets instead of always trying to figure ways to get more money so the agency can dole out more money to contractors who continue to prove themselves as inefficient and greedy.

    Without checking, I am willing to bet that even the contractors who have been inept and are being "penalized" by PennDOT continue to profit. There's something wrong with this.

    It is time to hand PennDOT an ultimatum: Work within your budget and cap your construction hand-outs.


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