No toll on I-80? No problem!

Gov. Ed Rendell's proposal to put tolls on I-80 to generate funding for mass transit has met with stiff resistance, especially from Republicans in the middle of the state. Now Barry Seymour, the head of Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, has another idea: put the tolls on the Schuylkill Expressway, Blue Route, and I-95.

"Seymour said I-95 is already tolled in New York as the New York Turnpike. To the south, I-95 is tolled through Delaware and Virginia.

Seymour calls that the "next generation" of tolls.

Places like Seattle have a comprehensive network of tolled roads, Seymour points out.

Seymour would like people to think of tolls as a utility bill like power, telephone and water. People derive a lot of benefits from roads, benefits that for the most part they do not pay for directly at present."

Of course, not everyone will necessarily agree to tolling these roads, either. Seymour points out that these tolls would be located in more affluent parts of the state that have the resources to fund political resistance. On the other hand, residents of those regions see more of a direct benefit from mass transit than people in the center of the state.

What do you think? Should we be considering tolls on other roads than I-80?

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