PITTSBURGH – To date, more than 600 people have signed an online petition that opposes a plan from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(PennDOT) to replace a bridge on Interstate 79, south of Pittsburgh and pay for the replacement through tolls.
In February 2021, PennDOT announced plans to replace the I-79 bridge that spans over state route 50, in Bridgeville, along with eight other bridges, on five other interstates, in other regions of Pennsylvania.
The bridge in question is along the main route most West Virginians from the north central part of that state take to get to Pittsburgh.
Pete Linko started the petition on change.org, entitled “Stop the Tolls on I79!”.
Countless hard working Pennsylvanians drive up and down I-79 daily. Already burdened by the highest gas tax in the country, implemented by PennDot to PAY FOR THE ROADS.
Now PennDot wants to add another TAX. Tell Harrisburg Bureaucrats that WE pay their salary and we refuse this new toll on I79.
The situation is dire as they are collecting bids to look at the project. We must act now while we have the chance!Statement on change.org petition
At the time this article was written, 658 people had signed the petition, which has a goal of 1,000 signatures.
Several of the signees left comments explaining their concerns:
“This is just wrong. Where are our gas taxes going? Be more responsible with what you already receive. Highest taxes with the worst roads,” said Charles Ellefson.
“Because we already pay for the roads in our skyhigh taxes which was meant to keep them free. Just like rt 43 was supposed to eventually be free and it just keeps going up,” wrote Tara Atchison.
“This toll does not represent the best interests of the community. There are several ways around the location they plan to put the toll and many will simply drive around the toll. This will burden the local municipality and crowd the local streets. This solution causes more issues than it fixes,” Brian Welles said.
“I drive i79 twice a day. I fill up my gas in WV at work because it usually about 30 cents cheaper per gallon! Enough with the higher taxes and adding new ones,” commented Amber Ziese.
The project, which would add lanes in both directions, would decrease traffic congestion and improve safety in the area, while making the interstate better for truck traffic and eliminating the need for frequent repairs that the current structure requires, according to PennDOT. You can read PennDOT’s full justification for the project here. A public comment form can be found at the bottom of this page.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission recently opened a new toll road, known as the Southern Beltway or PA Turnpike 576, which connects I-79 and the Pittsburgh International Airport, south of the city.