I am writing to express support for the idea of tolling Interstate 80. As an individual in the construction industry, I am deeply concerned that without the $450 million in funding (from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, under the provision of Act 44 of 2007), going toward highway and bridge maintenance, Pennsylvania's highways and bridges will deteriorate at an even faster rate than we are already experiencing.
Pennsylvania has more structurally deficient bridges in critical need of repair than any other state in the country as noted in 2006 by the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission. The state also has the greatest number of bridges over 75 years old and the nation's fifth-largest state highway network.
Pennsylvania currently has a huge gap between available revenue and the amount it would take to repair the existing highway system, let alone expand it to improve safety and relieve congestion throughout the state.
As this transportation funding crisis reaches a new extreme, the tolling of Interstate 80 and the increase in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (both provided under the provision of Act 44) offer a fair and balanced approach to raising the necessary revenue (in place of increasing gasoline taxes or other taxes and fees) which will allow for the necessary reconstruction and rehabilitation of roadways, bridges, interchanges and transportation systems. This step to combat our state's annual deficit for interstate maintenance is an essential and critical step to avoid a catastrophic breakdown of our entire transportation network.
I urge each and every reader to support the tolling of Interstate 80.
STEPHEN M. MUCK
President and CEO
Brayman Construction Corp.
The writer's company specializes in the construction of bridges and other complex structures.