422 Master Plan & Tolling . . . Talking Point of Drucker & Kampf

It’s fascinating how political campaigns evolve . . . the tolling of Rt. 422 has become an interesting talking point between the Drucker and Kampf campaigns.  Back in April, Drucker spoke on a news video for Times Herald; the video was accompanied by an article where the 422 master plan and tolling was discussed.  I heard the words ‘tolling on 422’ and immediately assumed that my trips to the outlet malls just became more expensive!  However, I discovered that occasional or short on-off users of Rt. 422 would not be charged a toll in the proposed 422 expansion plan.  Likewise, my trips to the 422 movie theater would remain ‘untolled’ under this plan.  

In fact, I was able to go back a few months and find the Times Herald article, where Drucker explains  — “The plan, as it was explained to me, is that short-term users – on- and off-type users of 422, will not be tolled, because of some of the technology that is in place,” said Drucker. “Tolling will be for the people who use it during more of a steady period.” 

Drucker provided follow-up information in last week’s Main Line Suburban newspaper — should there be any misunderstanding among residents. Drucker wrote the following op-ed article on the master plan for Rt. 422:

Looking Carefully at the Route 422 Corridor Master Plan
By PA State Rep Paul Drucker (D-157)
 
Recently the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Chester County Planning Commission have presented to several municipal boards in our area the Route 422 Corridor Master Plan. This is a proposal that could significantly alter the transportation infrastructure of the Route 422 corridor.

The Route 422 Corridor Master Plan, among other things, provides for light rail service through the corridor and could be economically advantageous to our region. Pennsylvania needs a strong infrastructure to keep us competitive to attract and retain businesses to our state, and along with them, much-needed jobs.

With over a half a million jobs in Montgomery County and more than 250,000 jobs in Chester County, 28 percent of the Gross Southeast Regional Product is generated in these two counties alone. By 2030, the Route 422 Corridor is expected to add another 30,000 jobs.

Congestion on Route 422 is strangling the area with 15-mile backups daily on the highway and overflow onto parallel local roads. All of us who have spent time on Route 422 knows that it is a frustrating driving experience, to the point that we have recently witnessed a dangerous episode of road rage. In addition, there is no room for businesses to expand or new companies to locate in the corridor.

Currently there is no federal or state money forthcoming to the area to help with infrastructure improvements. Today, over half of the region’s long-range major capital-investment plan for the southeastern counties is consumed by existing assets that need to be rebuilt or replaced, such as crumbling bridges, and the number of major new investments that expand capacity is extremely limited.

One of the more controversial aspects of the plan is the possibility of tolling a portion of Route 422. Modern tolling technology allows for an express lane accessible only to long-distance travelers of the road. It would not be accessible to those drivers who travel Route 422 for short distances. I think such an option could work. However, I would not support a tolling structure that forces daily, on/off drivers to pay tolls.

I know many of my constituents use Route 422 every day, some several times a day. I do not support placing the burden of multiple tolls daily onto my constituents, especially in these difficult economic times.

As a policymaker I have an obligation to give serious consideration to plans that can improve the lives of people in our region and address our serious budget and transportation challenges. This proposal deserves the consideration of all of us who live here.

I will continue to monitor this plan as it moves forward, and I will remain focused on my priorities of delivering a fair, balanced budget in a timely manner, creating jobs in our district and helping Pennsylvania to recover from this difficult recession. I have always, and I will continue to, keep your wallets in mind as I represent you.

 Drucker’s op-ed article does well to clarify his position and to once again state that the master plan would not include tolling of occasional users of Rt. 422, or those that are on-off and not traveling the entire stretch of the highway on a regular basis.  I think we could all agree that something needs to change on 422 – if you are ever up watching the early news on TV (as I am) you know that the discussion of 422 back-ups and traffic slow-down is part of the daily news updates.  It is understood that discussion of 422’s master plan is in the very early stages but it is refreshing to know that there are people with vision and long-range future planning skills.  Like it or not, something has to significantly change on 422; the problem isn’t going to solve itself without help!

In response to Drucker’s op-ed article, Warren Kampf wrote the following for his website.  Kampf is taking the stance of no tolling, apparently under no conditions.  From a long-range planning standpoint, how does Kampf propose to help relieve the traffic nightmare of Rt. 422?  What is his solution to the problem?  I support debate on the 422 master plan and tolling issue but Kampf’s criticism of the plan without offering a viable alternative is not a solution.   Kampf’s is clear that he does not support tolling . . . again, I would ask that rather than poking holes in his opponent’s plan, a better approach might be to present his own options to fix the traffic problems of 422. How would he design the Rt.  422 master plan . . .?

Why I oppose tolling Route 422
By Warren Kampf, July 12th, 2010

I read with incredulity a recent letter to editor by Paul Drucker attempting to change his position on the tolling of Route 422. 

As reported by The Times Herald on April 9, 2010, Mr. Drucker told their editor that he supported tolling specifically for the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro.  Now, however, Mr. Drucker is trying to change his position to make it less politically damaging.

My position on tolling Route 422 is clear: I oppose it.  I do so for the following reasons:

1. I do not believe that burdening our working families and seniors with added costs in these troubled economic times is a good idea, but that is exactly what a toll on Route 422 would do.

2. The revenue from this action comes nowhere near what is needed to fund the $2.2 billion (or more) cost of the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro.  There is no reason to investigate or begin tolling 422 for the purpose of building a light-rail line unless and until other construction funding is secured.  [In 2004, estimated cost for the Schuylkill Valley Metro was $2.2 billion (Pottstown Mercury); taking inflation into account, current costs would probably be higher today.]

3.  Tolling Route 422 and only Route 422 equates to unfair taxation.  Unlike Mr. Drucker, I do not believe those who utilize Route 422 deserve to bear a greater burden than those who utilize Route 202, the Blue Route, the Schuylkill Expressway, and other highways that are just as important to the economic well-being of our region as Route 422 is.

4.  There are no guarantees that tolling revenue will be used as Mr. Drucker and his Harrisburg politician allies claim. 

Unlike the Turnpike, which is a separate authority run by the revenue it raises from tolling, tolls on Route 422 would go into the state’s general fund and could be used for any purpose (unless the Legislature passes special legislation approving a local authority.) Remember, these are the same people who passed gaming in our state by promising to use the money for property tax relief and instead spent it to help build a sports arena in Pittsburgh. 

There is simply too great a risk that Mr. Drucker’s toll money will be used to fund items other than the construction of the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro.

Since Mr. Drucker made his tolling proposal, I have consistently stated that I do not support it for the reasons above.  Unfortunately, once Mr. Drucker was hit with the reality that the people he represents do not want his tolls, he has tried political back-pedaling to re-write history.  Today, he is attempting to say that this tolling money would be used to maintain and improve Route 422.  As stated above in number 4, we can’t trust that tolling revenue will be used for this purpose. 

Rather than always look to new revenue sources (taxes, fees, tolls) first, Mr. Drucker and those like him in Harrisburg should first look to prioritize spending on core services by cutting spending on non-core function programs. Instead, they continue to over-spend and over-borrow (including more than a half-billion dollars this year to “balance” their budget) and then support other fees – like 422 tolls – for projects they claim are vital but don’t have the wherewithal to fight for in the regular budget process.

Yes, we must address congestion on Route 422 and the need to continue building upon the positive economic impact this corridor has on our region.  To do so, I believe we must first work to cut wasteful state spending and focus the state budget on priorities like education, job creation, property tax relief and infrastructure improvements. 

Only after we have exhausted all efforts at controlling and focusing spending wisely — and only after a thorough and careful analysis of all options is completed — should we ever look toward an increased burden on our citizens.  That is what I will work to do in Harrisburg.

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  1. Either Warren Kampf can’t read, or he is purposely trying to manipulate what Paul Drucker said from the beginning. Shame on him.

    [Reply]

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    anon:

    Kampf said “As reported by The Times Herald on April 9, 2010, Mr. Drucker told their editor that he supported tolling specifically for the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro. ”

    Mr. Drucker’s words are NOT being manipulated. There is video of the 4/9 Drucker interview on the Times Herald website and Drucker answers the question exactly as Kampf suggests. He starts out by saying he supports the SVM/422 proposal that includes tolling of 422, while saying several “as I understand it” or “as it was explained to me” and mentions this “short-term” exception to the tolling. To make sure Drucker’s position is clear, the reporter then asks, “To clarify once again,you do support tolling of 422 to support the Schuykill Valley Metro?’ Drucker says “I think so, yes…I support the proposal that’s out there that includes tolling of 422.”

    [Reply]

    anon Reply:

    Can you read? This is his EXACT quote:

    “The plan, as it was explained to me, is that short-term users – on- and off-type users of 422, will not be tolled, because of some of the technology that is in place,” said Drucker. “Tolling will be for the people who use it during more of a steady period.”

    Seriously, what is your problem?

    I know what your problem is – Warren Kampf has nothing to talk about, no good reasons why the voters of the 157th should vote for him, so he has to manipulate his opponent’s words.

    [Reply]

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Watch the tape – he mumbles about exceptions – what is a short-term user? What is an “on- and off-type user”? – What is person “who uses it during more of a steady period”? Is it about how often you use 422, how far you go, both or something else? Mr. Drucker doesn’t seem to understand what the exceptions are. However, he says twice, very clearly, that he supports tolling to build the SVM. How much clearer can that be?

    Tolling to build a $2.2 billion+ railroad, that has been reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration and “Not Recommended”. A railway that will use the Norfolk Southern’s tracks, though NSC will only agree if it doesn’t impact their operations on the railway – how will the SVM manage that? Since there’s no federal money available, presumably PA will advance the $2.2 billion+ in hopes that the tolls, with exceptions for “on- and off-type users” and “short-term users”, will pay it back. Someone explain to me why we should build this $2.2 billion+ railroad for these folks, who work in KOP or Philadelphia, but willingly bought a McMansion, on converted farmland, 15 miles up 422 cause they could get “more house for their money”, and now they have to fight traffic to get to work? And they want exceptions from the tolls. $2.2 billion+ that PA and its taxpayers CANNOT AFFORD.

    Anon Reply:

    I think what Drucker was trying to say is that he was against tolling on 422 before he was for it.

    Like a typical political weasel, Drucker wants to let the ordinary citizen know that the toll is not for them, but for some ‘other guy’. Meanwhile, when everything is in place, and Drucker is long gone, suddenly everyone will find that they are now paying the toll.

  2. OKay John — since you are bound and determined to use every opportunity to bash Mr. Kampf by playing complete Devil’s advocate, I’ll try to do some of the same to what is apparently “your candidate.” (As a fact of disclosure, I have not decided on which candidate to support — and it will not be driven by others making a case for or against the candidates, but by the candidate himself).
    1. I do not believe that burdening our working families and seniors with added costs in these troubled economic times is a good idea.
    Only you, John, could find this comment to be a problem. YOu turn to I-80 tolling discussions — talk about deflecting. Then you moved to your standby favorite — St. Davids. Once and for all, Saint Davids was not purely about what you call the privileged few. It was about an overall strategy of putting in sidewalks in an area of the township that the majority (voting) of the BOS did not support. In that regard, it was about limiting government spending on infrastructure without have a plan in place to fund the whole thing. How they did it — resulting in a return of the escrow to St. Davids — was flawed. But it was NOT about the privileged few, and no amount of bashing on the topic will make that true. The money from St. Davids should not have been returned (and the motion has since been rescinded, right???), because keeping it in the bank just in case they build the sidewalk makes sense (though we we know it is NOT money in the bank — just a guarantee). So the comments he makes about not tolling is entirely consistent with his view on not committing to projects that are likely to raise the cost of living to citizen taxpayers without a full funding plan in place.

    2. The revenue from this action comes nowhere near what is needed to fund the $2.2 billion (or more) cost of the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro

    Your deflection again is seamless. Inflation has NOTHING to do with the $2.2 billion (or more) cost being far in excess of any anticipated tolling revenue. Any anyone who lived through the Blue Route construction knows that Pennsylvania’s ability to build any kind of NEW project could take 20 years….
    great link here to understand what I mean — just about 422 but read on to learn about the major issues associated with projects in this union-dominated, politically unstable state….
    http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/US-422_PA/
    The Schuylkill Valley Light rail (if it is that or anything resembling that) is barely a hint. If you want to fault Mr. Kampf for having “no answers” then please at least allow others to challenge Mr. Drucker for “reading reports” for his answers….hardly reflects serious thinking on the matter.

    3. Tolling Route 422 and only Route 422 equates to unfair taxation. 4. There are no guarantees that tolling revenue will be used as Mr. Drucker and his Harrisburg politician allies claim.

    Again, you quarrel with the statement, yet you reference the failed I-80 effort, and equate it to the turnpike — known as “the first and the worst” for some very clear reasons. Can Mr. Kampf consider making the same mistake again (tolling one road) ill advised? And while you rightly point out that the revenue can be earmarked legislatively, Mr. Kampf identifies the creation of a Turnpike Authority to ensure that there. He doesn’t say it would be impossible — just that given the state of the current proposals (and the one Mr. Drucker commented on initially), it would not be assured. Anyway, we know what an authority means….so Bad Mr. Kampf — he thinks it’s not done correctly. Shame on him for not knowing the solution already like a good political should.

    You call him an empty suit because he has not enumerated the things he believes should be cut — yet at the same time you credit Mr. Drucker for voting for a balanced budget… Isn’t this all political speak? To enumerate the cuts you would make would be idle chatter, as it doesn’t matter what you want to do — it matters what you can get done. You can quarrel with Tredyffrin (which you clearly enjoy doing — thin skinned after your own defeat years ago in pursuing the position despite being named as an interim by the same Mr. Kampf and his buddies?)

    So he has named Mr. Mahoney as his campaign chair. DOn’t blame him — Mr. Mahoney managed to get re-elected to the school board by tricking democrats into voting for him by “endorsing” a democrat to run as a team — in an attempt to getting enough votes to beat Mrs. Bookstaber, who clearly had the Republican vote (and he saw he needed Dem votes to prevail). Mr. Mahoney also managed to run a budget discussion for several long months where every decision was made before the discussion took place but he conducted the discussion quite well. Our school taxes this year went up more than the total increase in township taxes since 1998 (1998 – 1.80 2010 2.23 or .43 mills in 12 years). Yet you point to their process as commendable. Do you think you saw any minds changed on the school board during their “debate?”

    Do I think Mr. Kampf’s campaign is lackluster? Yep. Do I think it’s because politics is exciting, but the nuts and bolts of governing is boring? yep. Has Mr. Drucker’s campaign energized anyone? Nope. But here’s the secret: Mr. Drucker has a job that Mr. Kampf wants to take away. Mr. Drucker doesn’t have to make a lot of noise. Same way that the BOS are in place — they don’t have to make a lot of noise. And I agree with the poster who said that the BOS don’t have to start a discussion that will be difficult and ridden with accusations used to denouce Mr. Kampf. The cuts he made this year — forget your insistence that they are a deferral. The taxes for this township have gone up .35 mills since 2000. So to try to deny that the township is running rather lean is insulting. We may be down to the bare bones — but I think it’s safe to say that the state has a long, long way to go to get to that point. WAMs this year (which are what the DCED grants Pattye references in her post earlier are) along with the $600MM in this year’s budget (borrowed money) are all part of the balanced budget that you credit to Mr. Drucker and his allies. WHERE do you think that $1MM cardboard check for the Paoli Transit came from? Why is the $20K cardboard check more heinous???

    Cannot believe I am taking this kind of effort to respond to you. Your need to irritate and annoy simply is difficult to ignore. I was determined to simply post information and not responses. He who starts the noise controls the debate….but I’m learning.

    [Reply]

  3. “I heard the words ‘tolling on 422′ and immediately assumed that my trips to the outlet malls just became more expensive! However, I discovered that occasional or short on-off users of Rt. 422 would not be charged a toll in the proposed 422 expansion plan. Likewise, my trips to the 422 movie theater would remain ‘untolled’ under this plan.”

    Pattye, if you heard Mr. Drucker’s words on that video, and his words in the letter above, and can understand what he says well enough to draw that conclusion, you’re much smarter than me. Again, what is a short-term user? What is an “on- and off-type user”? What is person “who uses it during more of a steady period”? Is the 15 mile trip from Valley Forge to the outlets an “exception”? Is it about how often you use 422, how far you go, both or something else? In his letter in your post, he says, “I would not support a tolling structure that forces daily, on/off drivers to pay tolls.” Further, ” I do not support placing the burden of multiple tolls daily onto my constituents”. So, Mr. Drucker, a toll road where those who use the road the most, don’t pay – great!

    The cost, just for the rail line, in 2004, was $2,200,000,000.00. The expected cost for the 422 improvements and tolling is $450,000,000.00 These figures are just for the infrastructure, not including any operating costs. To travel the entire length of 422, the expected toll is $2 (.08/mile). You would need to collect almost 1,400,000,000 $2 tolls just to recover the cost. But, of course, hardly anybody would actually have to pay a toll because of all of the exceptions, so how are you gonna collect 1.4 billion tolls?

    Look at all those zeros – those are billions of dollars that would be borrowed, and ultimately paid for, with interest, by you and your kids and your grandkids for the non-toll toll road that we CANNOT AFFORD. Truly, the choices are: kill this unaffordable project and quit with the charade(my preference) OR have the courage to admit that the project is only possible with big tolling revenues and everybody who uses 422 pays a toll.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Mike – Here’s my personal interpretation of the 422 tolling plan:
    I assumed that if I was going to the outlet malls ‘occassionally’ — rather than a daily commute, that the plan would not require me to pay a toll. Or, if I was getting on at Valley Forge and getting off at Oaks, say for the movies — rather than going the entire distance, that would not require me to pay a toll.

    My interpretation was that the 422 tolling would be for commuters that drove the entire distance on the road daily to work –say you live in Pottstown and commute to Philadelphia, you would pay a toll. But Mike this is what I interpreted from Drucker’s past newspaper articles and last week’s op-ed article. To determine ‘exactly’ what Drucker had in mind for the 422 tolling, and the exceptions to tolling, etc. . . . I guess the best answer would be to contact Drucker’s office directly.

    [Reply]

  4. John,

    The Turnpike tolls no longer go just to the Turnpike. They are now required by law to now give a certain amount to the state for their use. Something like $450 million a year. It was all part of the effort to fund state transportation project over the last few years – tolling I80, etc.

    [Reply]

  5. Pattye —

    The problem with your comment and so much of this is what you are forced to do: “assume”

    There is too much “big thinking” on this plan attached to very big dollars with no real answers just yet.

    I don’t think anyone is out of line saying no tolls until we know more and, in reading Kampf’s statement (especially the end) it says “Only after we have exhausted all efforts at controlling and focusing spending wisely — and only after a thorough and careful analysis of all options is completed — should we ever look toward an increased burden on our citizens.” That sounds to me like he isn’t closing the door on the idea, just shutting it for now.

    [Reply]

  6. I think Warren’s statement was circumspect. The tolling machinations for exceptions seem very vague. and Mikes analysis is what we need more of, instead of pie in the sky proclamations.

    [Reply]

    anon Reply:

    What has Mike analyzed? He’s regurgitated Mr. Kampf’s talking points. That is not analysis. That is parroting. I think the $2.2 Billion figure that has been tossed around may be out of date. Recent news articles appear to put the cost at a lower figure. Also, I’m not sure that tolling qualifies as “pie in the sky ” proclamations. Seems more pragmatic than anything else.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    I think Mike has done some number crunching. You just “think”?

    [Reply]

    ANON1776 Reply:

    What numbers? Are you saying that Mike has access to information that the public does not have access to? As Mike’s analysis been subjected to peer review and scrutiny? Seems to me, you are just taking his word for it. Then again, you may be Mike, using another id.

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Sorry, anon, that my analysis is not up to the bar you’ve set with your well thought out, fact-based posts. I’ll try to do better next time.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    I am not Mike. Where is your analysis? Anger and glibness is not a substitute for analysis and discussion of facts. Yelling and screaming, and demonizing and vilifying your “enemy combatant” makes you look foolish. Just the facts, ma’am.

    Township Reader Reply:

    Again John — contribute something to the analysis besides whining and complaining. I think some of this has been posted before, but these two links are typical of what is available on 422 —

    http://www.pahighways.com/us/US422.html

    PennDOT District 5 is currently studying improvement options on the at-grade section from Mount Penn to Douglassville, referred to as the US 422 Corridor Study. Two expressway alignments are included in the alternatives list, with the most promising being the one following the Schuylkill River.

    Due to increasing traffic on US 422 in Berks and Montgomery Counties, plans to extend commuter rail service from Philadelphia into Berks County have been discussed and a study released on February 20, 2009 detailed how it could be accomplished. The problem is that to fund construction would require tolls to be implemented on the expressway from Pottstown to King of Prussia. Tolls would be charged on a per-mile basis which would equal to $2 for the entire 25 miles, which would also go towards making improvements to the highway. The next step would be to conduct a feasibility study of tolling the expressway which would include traffic and revenue analysis, assessing the capital needs of US 422 and a rail extension, public outreach and comment period, and development of an operating plan and cost estimate for rail service.

    Historically…..
    http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/US-422_PA/

    SO — when we talk about 422….we have a LOT to talk about…and someone running for the measly 157th (especially someone already in office) should know the facts and not offer suggestions based on some report he read….which from his days on the township board, I doubt he read.

    [Reply]

  7. From the West said:

    There is too much “big thinking”

    Yep…that is the problem often times with the GOP. There is often a requirement for “big thinking” and not enough folks in the GOP that are capable of “big thinking.” Reviewing Mr. Kampf’s agenda, it would appear to be very light in the area of “big thinking.”

    Thank you From the West, I could not have said it better myself!

    [Reply]

  8. with all due respect you are entitled to, “big thinking” has on a national level created a wet blanket over any chance of economic recovery. I think lessons learned and kept from this national debacle will serve us well here on the local level.

    [Reply]

    Takashi Toshiro Reply:

    but flyersfan, haven’t you heard?… It’s all Bush’s fault!

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    yes I have heard!!!!!! boy does he look good compared to our present ideologue.

    Read the WSJ today… Peggy Noonan’s article about where is the adult supervision. Excellent piece, well written and thought provoking.

    [Reply]

    anon Reply:

    Where was the adult supervision as to WMD in Iraq? You have to be kidding here? I’m not saying that the Obama Administration hasn’t made mistakes. However, if you are going to point the finger, be sure to look in the mirror.

    flyersfan Reply:

    read the article, stop spouting the political line. You may learn something.

    BTW, the presence of WMD in Iraq was supported across the board by Dems and Republicans alike. And Mr Obama’s reaching out to our enemies as surely made the world safer.

    flyersfan Reply:

    I think the WSJ costs 2 bucks. well worth it.

    flyersfan Reply:

    one more thing. It may surprise you to find that this article is not about bashing President Obama or any president.

  9. John P. said on 7/13 in his rebuttal to Mr. Kampf’s letter, “The PA Turnpike tolls are guaranteed to go the turnpike. That’s guaranteed.”

    From today’s Philly Inquirer,
    “The turnpike has become a cash cow for highway construction and repairs around Pennsylvania, under terms of Act 44, passed by the legislature in 2007.

    That law required the Turnpike Commission to pay $2.5 billion for state highway work from 2007 to 2010, and called for annual toll increases. The law also requires the turnpike to provide $450 million a year to the State Department of Transportation for the next 47 years.”

    John, you’re often wrong but never in doubt.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    I’m thinking…. maybe some of the Turnpike toll revenue can go to pay for 422 improvements, since those revenues are currently used for endeavors including but not limited to turnpike maintenance?

    [Reply]

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    First of all, John, you should know that I could not care less that a bunch of Republicans support this project. Both Rs and Ds support positions with which I don’t agree.

    As for 422, both candidates are going to say things for political reasons and are short on specifics Mr. Kampf’s points 1. and 3. are weak, in my opinion – they don’t really say anything. Likewise, Mr. Drucker builds a standard case for 422 Corridor investment and in discussing how to pay for it, his “exceptions” are intentionally vague – most people think the tolls won’t apply to them, despite the fact that big toll revenue is needed to pay for the project.

    I am more interested in a fact-based discussion, including the legitimate points raised by Mr. Kampf in his points 2. and 4. – the project has to be financed, likely in the absence of Federal or state dollars, and SECURE revenue streams will be needed to finance it. As an aside, the SVM discussed for the past 10 years or so was a $2 billion project – now, all of a sudden, planners are presenting a project expected to cost at least $500 million – so, 75% of the cost got cut that easily? That’s a bit worrisome – what scale, features and capabilities are lost by the reduced project and does it still meet the intended “need”. Of course, the 422 improvements would cost an additional estimated $450 miilion, so the total cost is still close to $1 billion.

    I’m still gathering information and have not formed a definitive opinion- there are circumstances under which I think the project might work (smaller scale and the people who use it, pay for it) and others where I think it’s a big mistake (i.e. if the SVM costs $2,200,000,000, I see no way it pays for itself). Locally, statewide, and nationally we simply must evaluate projects strictly on the basis of their costs and their benefits and be fully ready to pay for them.

    Now John, I responded your question, how about responding to mine:

    Someone explain to me why we should build this railroad for these folks, who work in KOP or Philadelphia, but willingly bought a McMansion, on converted farmland, 15 miles up 422 cause they could get “more house for their money”, and now they have to fight traffic to get to work? And they want exceptions from the tolls.

    [Reply]

  10. Pattye, while your conclusion is reasonable, we don’t really know. Seems to me Mr. Drucker is backpedaling because his support of tolling 422 did create a bit of political fallout. As for asking Mr. Drucker’s office you and I both asked them for analysis, more than 3 weeks ago, to support his claim that the Paoli Transportation Center will create 2000 jobs and we don’t have it yet.

    The important point is, the proposed 422 improvements and Schuylkill Valley Metro are estimated to cost $2,750,000,000. This project needs big tolling revenue to even come close to paying for itself. If there are a bunch of exceptions, that significantly reduces the revenue. At $.08/mile, which is the example used in studies I’ve seen and the rate on the PA Turnpike, it would be $1.20 toll to drive from King of Prussia to the outlets in Sanatoga. From Route 29 to K of P would be about $.50. If this project is going to be built, those that use it should pay for it, so why should there be exceptions? Folks want a less congested, improved 422 and a light rail but do they want it enough to pay for it?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Mike – You are right to remind me about Paoli Transportation Center. I will re-send my email tomorrow to Mr. Drucker that I am still waiting for the supporting analysis that the transportation center will create 2,000 jobs in Paoli. Thanks for the reminder.

    [Reply]

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