x
Breaking News
More () »

Commonwealth Court ruling puts temporary block on plan to toll I-83 South bridge

In her ruling issued Wednesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler sided with Cumberland County and a handful of municipalities that are challenging the process.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from Nov. 2021.

A judge has ordered a temporary halt to Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to toll as many as nine major bridges on interstates in Pennsylvania, including the John Harris Memorial Bridge carrying Interstate 83 over the Susquehanna River.

In her ruling issued Wednesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler sided with Cumberland County and a handful of municipalities that are challenging the process as both illegal and unconstitutional.

Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler ordered the halt, saying the state Department of Transportation must stop all studies, right-of-way acquisitions, construction or work under any contracts, and put off any planned hearings, meetings or spending.

Wolf’s push for tolling comes as states increasingly look to user fees to make up for declining gas tax revenue that is not keeping up with the demands of fixing highways and bridges. However, it has spurred opposition from some communities and Republican lawmakers, who say it will be costly to locals and businesses and create congestion.

It also comes amid rising gas prices. Wolf himself only has eight months left in office, and neither of his potential successors in November’s election support it.

Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who won the GOP’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary contest to run for governor, has backed legislation to effectively put a stop to the plan.

Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, applauded the court’s decision, “Today’s decision is a win for all Pennsylvanians. A win for all those who stood with us fighting this oppressive overreach. And a win for Pennsylvania businesses who were arbitrarily shut out of the process.”

Langerholc held several hearings to better understand how PennDOT was authorized to move forward with few details and without approval from the General Assembly. He also sponsored Senate Bill 382, which would require the P3 process to be more transparent while stopping this current initiative.

In addition to the John Harris Memorial Bridge proposal, the court's order voids the entire Major Bridge P3 Initiative, including the following bridges:

Download the FOX43 app here.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out