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Study weighs in on Route 422 tolling plan

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Oct 04 2011 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 06 2011 09:05:24 AM CDT

A report released Wednesday claims that charging drivers who take Route 422 will help solving some of the state's transportation funding crisis.

A report released Wednesday claims that charging drivers who take Route 422 will help solve some of the state's transportation funding crisis.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has been conducting a year-long study on tolling Route 422.

Travelers have been asking if tolling is the best solution for solving a state budget problem. Some state and county officials said it is.

"Funding for transportation is a combination of federal dollars and state dollars, very small amount of local dollars," said Barry Seymour, executive director, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. "What we're talking about is do we want to change that equation."

The way the equation would change is by adding tolls to a 25-mile stretch of 422 between Berks County and King of Prussia.

Fred Levering, chairman of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce, said tolls would generate enough money to improve road conditions along the 422 corridor.

"The reality is there is not adequate funding from either Washington or Harrisburg, so what are we going to do," asked Levering.

The state is facing a $3.5 billion annual shortfall needed for transportation infrastructure.

"A toll on 422, at a rate comparable to the turnpike toll level, could pay for both highway improvements and pay for a new train line out here to Reading," said Seymour.

According to the report, the tolls range from 50 cents to $2.65 each way. Travelers who commute from Reading to Philadelphia five days a week would pay up to $106 each month in tolls. Understandably, drivers are divided over the plan.

"If they're going to use the money for the roads system, I mean I can understand them having a toll," said Marcia Leister of Chester County.

"I guess you could spend money in a good way, but I don't think it would happen that way," said Scott Patterson of Union Township, Berks County. "I think as soon as Harrisburg gets the money, you know, it's a bunch of political bull."

Any money generated from tolls would be managed by a multi-county transportation authority. Members of the authority would make sure toll money is used for the roads.