Democratic leaders issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Transportation's denial of the Commonwealth's application to raise vital revenue by placing tolls on Interstate 80, and Gov. Ed Rendell's call for a Special Session on Transportation to reach solutions to the funding crisis resulting from that decision.
"This is no victory for Pennsylvania's taxpayers and motorists. This is a very disappointing decision from the federal government and it truly cripples the Commonwealth's ability to repair and maintain Pennsylvania's roads and bridges – to say nothing of the negative impact the decision has on future road construction and mass transit systems statewide without an alternative source of funding.
"We applaud Governor Rendell for his call for a Special Session on Transportation to carefully examine all possible solutions to the crisis, and we pledge to work in a bipartisan manner and give all reasonable ideas a fair hearing. This decision has a huge impact on roads, bridges and transit statewide. Any solution would have to be comprehensive, replace the hundreds of millions of dollars tolling would have provided every year to address the needs of our infrastructure, and solve the problem not just for today, but for generations to come.
"We must face the undeniable fact that our roads, bridges and public transit systems are becoming increasingly deteriorated and increasingly unsafe – ignoring the problem will not make it go away. We must work together to find a way to pay for the necessary repairs and upkeep."