Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Is Tolling 422 the ‘Only’ Solution to Traffic Nightmare?

Tolling of 422 continues to be a topic of discussion. A few days ago, Barry Seymour,Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) wrote an editorial with claims that tolling is the best option to improve 422 traffic problems. This article reconfirms Seymour’s presentation last month to Gov. Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

Here’s some interesting statistics from Seymour’s editorial:

About 65,000 commuters drive each day between Royersford and Collegeville; and within the next 25 years, that number will increase by 44 percent to over 93,000 commuters. Today, the average 422 commuter spends the equivalent of two weeks vacation stuck in traffic; by 2035, without additional capacity, time wasted will grow to the equivalent of four weeks, and the road will be in gridlock.

Seymour claims that 422 improvements will cost $700 million in improvements over the next decade and laments that few options are available for funding. With the Federal government dollars decreasing and PennDOT’s budget of $243 million over the next 8 years, what alternatives remain? If you support Seymour’s theory, you quickly conclude that tolling 422 is about the only way that to improve the daily commuter nightmare.

Because the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission will be finalizing and delivering its recommended plan to Corbett by Aug. 1, Seymour likewise is continuing to put forth his case. Expected in the plan will be a recommendation for a local taxation authority dedicated to specific roads in a given region. The idea of a local multi-county taxation authority is to direct funding for local improvements.

According to Seymour, “ . . . By 2035, a commuter who travels the full distance on the expressway would save more than 40 minutes daily or about $7,000 per year in travel time value.” With the clock counting down to the deadline for the governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission, Seymour needs to make sure he has a voice in Harrisburg.

To read Seymour’s editorial, click here.

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  1. As long as the toll money stays local, it is the only sensible outcome. Stuff costs money. People want stuff, but people don’t want to pay money for it. The notion that federal money isn’t available is almost comforting — because those tax dollars are mine too. So — pay for using something, or pay the government and they will decide what to pay for. I’d rather pay for what I use.
    Texas and Florida have some pretty sophisticated tolling programs. And pretty sophisticated roads. Maybe it’s time PA learned from other states.

  2. Interesting concept on comparing it to vacation time. I wonder what the comparison is to the $ value of the toll people will pay to the amount of wages lost by being late to work.

  3. Once again, things seem to be shifting on the 422 issue. Did the DVRPC try to sell the train line in this editorial, or did they let that go?

    The problem now is that no one has come up with a consistent, single plan for what the tolls are for. When Hoeffel went to Harrisburg, it was tolls for the roadway and the rail line — and the tolls DVRPC was proposing wouldn’t even be close to covering the cost of both.

    Maybe what needs to happen is that everyone sits at the table, compromises and comes up with a cohesive plan to sell the public. If that happened, perhaps the public would be more amenable to tolling.

    For now, there are too many different versions flying around and the public — rightfully so — isn’t ready to just say ok to tolls without real knowledge of how they will be utilized.

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