Bridge Tolls Hit Roadblock in Pennsylvania Senate With New Bill Requiring Approval

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A PennDOT proposal to add bridge tolls to nine area bridges, including the popular Girard Point Bridge, is meeting resistance in the Pennsylvania Senate, reports Marc Levy for nbcphilcdelphia.com.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill Tuesday. It requires PennDOT to get legislative approval before authorizing any tolls.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber, 28-19, with the backing of every Republican and one Democrat.

 Republicans say the PennDOT toll proposal lacked transparency.  Bridge tolls were not part of the agenda when they created the Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board in 2012, they say.

The bill would require PennDOT to provide more information about its proposals, publicly advertise them, take public comments and seek approval from the governor and legsiatlure.

Democrats say Republicans are failing to fund transportation needs.

“As much as I loathe to tax my constituents to fix a bridge, I’d rather tax them than have them in some sort of catastrophe when the Girard Point Bridge falls down,” Sen. John Sabatina, D-Philadelphia, said during floor debate.

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf opposes the Senate bill.

The bill goes to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives next.  If it passes there, it would likely be vetoed by Gov. Wolf. The Pennsylvania Senate lacks a majority to kill a veto.

Read more at nbcphiladelphia.com about the Pennsylvania Senate bill.

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