Gov. Corbett's pending recommendation that busy US 422 become a toll road from King of Prussia to Reading "raises serious questions," writes Albert T. Paschall, president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce:
"Every time we fill up at the pump, register our vehicles or renew a driver’s license we (already) pay for roads," according to Paschall. "Significant fuel tax increases during the Ridge administration were supposed to remedy our highway infrastructure challenges ‘forever.’ Now we face the spectacle of having to pay for the roads...
"If 422 is tolled, is government abrogating its responsibility to provide quality infrastructure?... What road is next? Will we soon be paying to drive on 202, 611 or 309? Would it not make more sense to toll I-95 in Philadelphia where estimates are in the billions of dollars for repairs?" (In fact, plans to toll 95 north of Philly are also in the works.)
"Secondarily comes the notion that tolls on route 422 will subsidize rail service from Norristown to Reading. I’ve lent my name to various schemes to do just that for over 20 years. All feasibility studies claim it is possible... What the feasibility studies don’t show is how to fund these ideas... Take all of these schemes coupled with SEPTA’s budget difficulties and there is no reality to any of it.
"For 422 the answer may be privately constructed and operated optional tolled high speed lanes. And that might be the direction Governor Corbett should pursue.”