BRIDGEVILLE – Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) today attended a stakeholder workshop organized by PennDOT to allow community leaders to provide input on alternate routes that drivers may take to avoid an I-79 bridge toll proposed by the agency.
In February, at the governor’s direction, PennDOT unveiled plans to toll nine bridges throughout the Commonwealth, including the I-79 bridge near the Bridgeville exit. Since the announcement, many questions and concerns have been raised about the specific bridges chosen, safety issues, timing of construction and tolling, and economic impact.
“Today’s meeting asking stakeholders which roadways we thought drivers would use to evade PennDOT’s planned I-79 bridge tolling was unnecessary,” Ortitay said. “It was nothing more than a dog and pony show that PennDOT put on to check off a box. It doesn’t take much thought to figure out the answer. Anyone with a map would know. The impact this blatantly stupid scheme will have on South Fayette, Bridgeville, Collier Township, Oakdale, Cecil Township and many other residents and drivers who travel through the area is huge. Not only will it lead to faster local road failure that will necessitate additional repairs, but the extra traffic also would increase the chances of accidents and congestion. It seems all this plan will do is add costs to municipal governments and increase travel times. This entire tolling scheme was not well thought-out and will do nothing but inconvenience local residents and cost municipalities millions of dollars in road repairs.”
“It has come to my attention that this particular bridge is structurally sound and has many years of life ahead of it,” Ortitay added. “The bridge was on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list to add a third lane, which made it a convenient selection by a lazy PennDOT secretary and governor who are just looking for excuses to add this toll. While this improvement would be helpful, it doesn’t warrant a $150 million complete rebuild and the many years of tolling that would come with it. I want the public to be aware of this since neither the secretary nor the governor will tell them the real reason why this bridge is under consideration for being tolled. There is absolutely no logical reason for this bridge to be tolled, and I once again call on Gov. Wolf to end his quest for tolling in the Commonwealth or he will be met with lawsuits challenging this ridiculous plan. It is an obvious misuse of the Private-Public Partnership statute and an abuse of power by the PennDOT secretary.”
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick