Regarding the Feb. 22 editorial "SOS: Stimulate Our State -- Allow I-80 Tolling": It seems rather foolish for so many agencies and services within the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to base their budgets on a nebulous source of income that may never come about, such as I-80 tolling. This would be akin to drawing up a household budget based on income from a job that you may or may not get.
There is also the "law of unintended consequences" to consider. The great majority of traffic on I-80 consists of heavy truck traffic, due to the absence of tolls. If I-80 were to become a toll road through the state, it is likely that many truckers and their companies, now having to pay a toll either way, might opt for the much more conveniently located Pennsylvania Turnpike, thus increasing the already heavy truck traffic, and most likely the number of serious accidents, along that highway.
Transforming I-80 into a toll road might very well do more harm than good for the state. A sweeping overhaul of Pennsylvania state government might do more for the economy than tolling Interstate 80.
In regard to "SOS: Stimulate Our State -- Allow I-80 Tolling" (Feb. 22), I am in total disagreement. My reasons are simple.
First, it is illegal, regardless of whatever law was passed by Pennsylvania. The state Legislature tried to get around provisions requiring any money generated by the use of I-80 to be used only for the maintenance of I-80 by setting up a bogus lease plan between two state agencies -- the Turnpike Commission and the Department of Transportation. Think about it: two state agencies that both depend on public funds leasing an item between them and then charging the same taxpayers a third time to actually use the road. Where in this is real income generation?
Luckily, the federal government saw through this ruse and denied the initial petition. We can only hope it sticks to that decision the second time around.
Second, the people most directly affected (residents of the I-80 corridor) are not primarily responsible for the abysmal situations at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Both agencies were totally mismanaged and are suffering the consequences of years of poor business practices. Let them find the wherewithal to dig themselves out of their holes.
They and the state Legislature have no right to destroy the livelihoods of people who had no hand in the mess that makes up the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh public transit systems.