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Hundreds sound off on proposal to toll Route 422

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 13 2011 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 14 2011 09:24:32 AM CDT

Hundreds of thousands of cars use Route 422 everyday without paying a toll. But that could change.

Thousands of cars use Route 422 everyday without paying a toll, but that could change.

Before any changes are made, however, fired-up motorist and politicians will have to be convinced.

Hundreds of people turned out for a forum at Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford, Montgomery County, Thursday night.

Many were adamantly against the proposal to toll Route 422.

"There are so many people that aren't going to be using the road anymore, and the surrounding roads are going to be all in gridlock and a terrible thing is going to happen," said Bobanne Farnsworth, Pottstown.

The proposed toll was crafted by the the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). Officials there said tolling will help fund transportation projects.

"So if we're going to build a new bridge, if we're going to widen the road, there's not a lot of money out there, so the tolling is one way to raise revenue," said Barry Seymour, executive director of the DVRPC.

Pa. Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery County, said there must be a better way to raise money.

"I don't think 422 is a road that would be suitable for tolling. Folks that use it are basically commuting to their jobs, to shop, to go to the doctor, to go to school. They're commuting for everyday activities. It's not an interstate," said Toepel.

Reading Mayor Tom McMahon said he sees the merits of the plan because the revenue from the tolls could help fund a light rail system that could pass through Reading.

"I think if we take the long-term view of having accessibility to everybody in southeastern Pennsylvania, I just think it makes a lot of sense to look at the options. And I think one of the options is the tolling option," said McMahon.

DVRPC officials said that several additional public meetings will be scheduled for late fall to further inform residents.

If you'd like to voice your comments, you can leave a message for 69 News at 610-871-0074.