The Truth About Cars » The Newspaper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » The Newspaper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Texas: Top State Senator Says Red Light Cameras About Money http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/texas-top-state-senator-says-red-light-cameras-about-money/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/texas-top-state-senator-says-red-light-cameras-about-money/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2012 20:07:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427043

The most senior Texas state lawmaker admitted last week that he voted to save red light camera programs even though he knew they had no effect on public safety.

State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), who was first elected to the legislature in 1973, appeared on KTRH radio’s morning news program to discuss how public opposition to red light cameras persuaded legislators to devote some of the camera profit to trauma centers.

“People went to Austin protesting it, and so John Carona — a senator from Dallas — didn’t want to eliminate them,” Whitmire explained. “He said, you know, it’s obviously a revenue source. Local communities try to sell it as public safety, cutting down on red light running. He and I and I think most people would realize it’s really a revenue source. John Carona in Austin said, I’m not going to eliminate but let the state have half of that revenue dedicated to trauma care which is badly underfunded.”

Though the money was promised to trauma care centers, over $4.1 million of this money has remained in the state’s general fund and not been distributed to the trauma centers.

“The budget writers in an effort to find resources and money to balance the budget never sent that,” Whitmire explained. “It’s wrong. It’s wrong.”

Whitmire played an essential role in 2005 in blocking House legislation that would have banned red light cameras as well as an amendment that would have forced municipalities to obtain voter approval before instituting a red light camera program. The Senate voted 18 to 13 to against the referendum requirement. Whitmire explained that the mayor of Houston, a fellow Democrat, had pressed him for that vote.

“Bill White came to Austin and he had two issues,” Whitmire said. “The next vote that came up was to try to repeal red light cameras. The vote was whether we’d take that away from the cities. And I don’t think Austin ought to be trying to run the cities on a day-to-day basis.”

Houston’s camerasĀ were ultimately shut down, but only after a heated legal and political battle. A federal judge even intervened to overturn the results of a public vote on the matter.

“It is a bad deal and the people acted on it and repealed it,” Whitmire said. “The issue of red light cameras, I was always suspect about it. I never thought it was about public safety. The greatest number of red light citations are issued to people who don’t come to a complete stop on turning right or similar violations. It’s a civil ticket, that shows you how insincere they are about it.”

This article courtesy of thenewspaper.com

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American Traffic Solutions Sues Former Top Executive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/american-traffic-solutions-sues-former-top-executive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/american-traffic-solutions-sues-former-top-executive/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:58:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=397682
American Traffic Solutions files federal lawsuit accusing former VP of stealing company clients.

Photo enforcement vendor American Traffic Solutions last month filed a federal lawsuit against one of its own top employees. Michael J. Lenza worked for ATS as senior vice president for financial services from September 30, 2006 to May 13, 2011. Lenza’s job was to solicit business, but ATS now charges the former executive with secretly building a client base of his own on company time.

“Upon information and belief, while working for ATS, Mr. Lenza was a dual agent — simultaneously working for both ATS and himself and competing and/or preparing to compete directly against ATS,” ATS attorney John L. Blanchard wrote in a brief to the court. “Mr. Lenza has violated his fiduciary and contractual obligations by engaging in this competition and by directly interfering with and impairing ATS’s ability to compete in the Massachusetts market.”

In his position at the company, Lenza had access to proprietary sales and marketing data, technical information, and techniques used to convince municipalities to choose automated ticketing machines. Lenza was paid a base salary of $156,000 plus a 0.5 percent cut of gross revenue from new red light camera and speed camera contracts in his sales territory. Depending on the per-ticket rate of compensation, Lenza was to pocket around 15 to 25 cents for every ticket issued.

Before joining ATS, Lenza had his own business, Public Finance Strategies LLC, which offered ticketing-related collection services for municipalities. On joining ATS, Lenza agreed only to market the products and services of ATS with his company. Section 8.4 of his contract and a separate attachment set out a non-competition agreement imposing a one-year waiting period before Lenza could go to work for any other photo ticketing firm. ATS insists Lenza violated these stipulations by forming another company, Photo Enforcement Consultants, allegedly to steal clients.

“ATS recently discovered that while Mr. Lenza was ATS’s senior vice president, Mr. Lenza was simultaneously competing directly with ATS by consulting with municipal customers and potential customers and marketing photo-traffic enforcement services,” Blanchard wrote. “Mr. Lenza was directly diverting opportunities away from ATS.”

ATS is seeking an injunction against Lenza plus punitive damages, compensation for lost business and loss of reputation. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. owns 31.6 percent of ATS. The next hearing will be held September 1 before Judge Susan R. Bolton in the US District Court in Phoenix, Arizona at 10am.

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Arizona Governor Proposes Ballot Measure To Save Speed Cameras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/arizona-governor-proposes-ballot-measure-to-save-speed-cameras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/arizona-governor-proposes-ballot-measure-to-save-speed-cameras/#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 14:27:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342111 Trouble brewing? (courtesy:ktar.com)

In a surprise move, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) took a step to save the freeway speed camera program imposed by her predecessor, Janet Napolitano (D), the current US Secretary of Homeland Security. On Friday, Brewer proposed a Fiscal Year 2011 budget that cut spending by $1.1 billion, reduced the state’s workforce by ten percent and raised taxes by $1 billion to address massive deficits brought on by overspending during the economic downturn. Also tucked into the budget were assumptions that automated ticketing would continue beyond 2011, based on expected results from a new referendum proposal.

“The executive proposes referring the continuation of photo enforcement to the voters in November 2010,” Brewer’s budget stated.

The contract to operate the freeway speed cameras expires in July, something Brewer has suggested she might allow to happen. This would be a minor defeat for Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that runs the cameras, but it would not be a fatal blow. Because the public has refused to pay the $181 tickets, Redflex has actually lost money on the program. What the company most fears is the initiative being circulated by the group CameraFraud.com to place a ban on all forms of photo enforcement before voters this November. Were Brewer simply to refuse to renew the contract, there would be no reason to hold a referendum on a freeway program that would no longer exist.

Brewer would not expect cameras to win a freeway camera ballot measure. The photo ticketing industry understands that no photo enforcement measure has ever survived when put on the ballot. The only such vote to take place in Arizona resulted in two-thirds of voters rejecting speed cameras. Instead, the competing ballot measure would cause confusion and drain support from the proposed CameraFraud ban on the highly lucrative municipal red light cameras and speed cameras. This is what Redflex and its competitor, American Traffic Solutions, truly fear. Brewer’s openness to the plan likely stems from her close ties to Jay Heiler, the top lobbyist for Redflex. When she took office in 2008, Brewer’s first move was to turn to Heiler for advice on staffing her administration.

According to budget documents, the freeway photo radar program has generated $17,297,900 for Redflex, as well as $6,427,000 for the state supreme court and the judiciary. A total of $10,516,800 has gone to the state’s general fund. The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) took $2,173,000. Legislators added $1,471,700 to their personal campaign fund accounts.

For fiscal 2011, Brewer’s budget predicts that freeway cameras will issue 384,864 tickets worth $69,852,816, but because most motorists have simply refused to acknowledge these citations — the current payment rate is just 26.8 percent — a mere $18,720,636 in revenue will be generated.

Brewer did accede to one of the demands of photo enforcement opponents. On Wednesday she deposed Napolitano’s personal choice for state police chief, Roger Vanderpool. Vanderpool has been the primary spokesman for photo enforcement, using Department of Public Safety resources to conduct staged events to promote the continued use of automated ticketing machines. In Vanderpool’s place, Brewer named Robert Halliday, a 35-year DPS veteran who focused on criminal investigations and counter-terrorism.

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Indiana: City Threatens $2500 Fines for Challenging Traffic Tickets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/indiana-city-threatens-2500-fines-for-challenging-traffic-tickets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/indiana-city-threatens-2500-fines-for-challenging-traffic-tickets/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2009 17:25:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338821 Marion County Courthouse circa 1875 (courtesy:b-levi.com)

Motorists who receive minor parking or traffic tickets in Indianapolis, Indiana are being threatened with fines of up to $2500 if they attempt to take the ticket to court. A local attorney with the firm Roberts and Bishop was so outraged by what he saw in Marion County traffic court that he filed a class action suit yesterday seeking to have the practice banned as unconstitutional.

“The deck is stacked against the motorist,” lawyer Paul K. Ogden wrote. “To penalize that person for seeking justice seems wrong. I know it is done for the purpose of discouraging baseless challenges to tickets and clogging the docket, but in the process you are also penalizing people who have a legitimate defense and want a chance to present it to the court.”

The city made explicit the threat of additional fines for challenging parking tickets in a November 30 press release announcing a deal between Indianapolis and a private firm, T2 Systems, to hand over operations of a parking ticket court to increase municipal income.

“Using Six Sigma process improvement strategies, it is estimated that under this program the city may collect an additional $352,000 to $520,000 in parking citation revenue over the next 12 months,” the city press release stated. “If citations are not paid prior to their scheduled hearing, the city may request a fine of up to $2500 per citation. Upon receiving a judgment for an unpaid citation, individuals responsible could be subject to collections actions or having their vehicle registration suspended.”

In traffic court, Judge William Young has been making good on the threats by routinely siding with police officers in disputes and imposing fines of up to $500 on anyone who challenges a moving violation ticket, no matter how minor, and loses. Those who pay without going to court do not face this extra fine.

“Unfortunately what you have happen a lot of times is that judges aren’t particularly worried about whether what they’re doing may be violating the law as the odds of someone ever appealing a $400 traffic ticket is remote,” Ogden wrote. “I see it all the time. Trial judges flouting the law knowing they are unlikely to ever be challenged on an appeal because the litigants can’t afford it.”

Ogden is specifically representing three motorists affected by court policies. Toshinao Ishii received a ticket for driving 63 MPH in a 55 zone in February. Had he paid the ticket without challenge, the fine would have been $150. After Judge Young sided with the police officer in court, Ishii was fined $550. Motorist Matthew Stone was told by his doctors not to wear a seatbelt over his chest as it could damage his cardiac pacemaker. He received a $25 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. After court officials threatened Stone with a $500 fine, he gave up his intention of challenging the citation. Adam Lenkowsky, who did not receive a ticket, attempted to attend a traffic court proceeding on September 23, 2009. He was barred from the court, despite the state constitutional requirement that court proceedings be open.

Ogden argues the court’s practices in the first two cases violate the excessive fines clause of the state constitution as well as the clause requiring that “all penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense.”

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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Speed Cameras Gift-Wrapped In The Netherlands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/speed-cameras-gift-wrapped-in-the-netherlands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/speed-cameras-gift-wrapped-in-the-netherlands/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2009 15:44:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338522

Beginning around 4am Friday morning, about 250 speed cameras throughout The Netherlands were gift-wrapped in festive boxes that prevented the devices from issuing automated tickets. The cameras were thus decorated as part of a publicity stunt for the “Go Fast” energy drink with the help of about seventy company employees. Many of those involved dressed either as Saint Nicholas or Zwarte Piet as they went about their work, costumes appropriate for the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas. In a previous stunt, several speed cameras had “Go Fast” advertising stickers placed on them — most of which are still in place. This time, however, police were quickly dispatched to remove the cardboard gift boxes so that ticketing could resume.

In England, vigilantes on Tuesday used a gasoline-soaked tire to burn a speed camera in Leigh at around 11pm. The automated ticketing machine was located on London Road near the Elms pub, The Echo reported. Police have no suspects.

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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Turmoil in Two California Red Light Camera Programs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/turmoil-in-two-california-red-light-camera-programs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/turmoil-in-two-california-red-light-camera-programs/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:53:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338395 (courtesy:.ci.santa-maria.ca.us)Red light cameras are shutting down temporarily and permanently in a pair of California cities. Santa Maria’s program has ended for good, thanks to camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS). ATS inherited the Santa Maria account from bankrupt vendor Nestor Traffic Systems in September and has now decided to pull out of the city because it was not earning enough revenue.

Although many jurisdictions claim that they are in full control of their red light camera programs, Santa Maria’s experience demonstrates which party is truly in charge. A local resident who had challenged a photo citation had the case dismissed because the city no longer has any evidence of an alleged violation.

“The company that operates the city’s red light photo enforcement system terminated its contract with the city unexpectedly,” City Attorney Philip Sinco wrote in an email to the resident. “They have shut the system off and have repossessed equipment they provided us with that permitted us to prove up the violations in court. We are unable to prove up these violations now in light of their action.”

All violations will be dismissed as a result. Santa Ana’s attitude is less forgiving. Although the city has finally agreed to shut down its program for thirty days to comply with state law, it will continue to prosecute violations issued during the period when the city was operating in open defiance of several court rulings.

In August, Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Kenneth Schwartz declared the program in violation of a number of provisions of state law (view ruling). Instead of providing notice each time the city added photo ticketing to an intersection, as required by statute, Santa Ana made a single announcement in 2003 with the intention of moving cameras to new intersections within the city limits whenever a particular location failed to generate sufficient revenue.

The Schwartz ruling was far from unique. Appellate rulings throughout the state have consistently found municipal practices contrary to state law. In January, the warning issue had been raised and decided (view ruling). In February, the appellate division found Sacramento County’s camera program had produced unreliable evidence (view ruling). Last December, the appellate division ruled “cost neutral” contracts in Fullerton were illegal (view ruling).

Schwartz has automatically thrown out any red light camera citation from Santa Ana brought before his court as a result, a move that finally forced the city to comply. Because Santa Ana is continuing to prosecute the citations, however, motorists must show up in person to have their $450 ticket dismissed.

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Photo Enforcement Illegal In South Carolina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/photo-enforcement-illegal-in-south-carolina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/photo-enforcement-illegal-in-south-carolina/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:10:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=337476 Cameras everywhere... but no worries in South Carolina (courtesy:baltimoresun.com)
Earlier this year the South Carolina General Assembly enacted a law that will make it even more difficult for red light camera and speed camera vendors to attempt to do business in the state. Under a provision that took effect on April 9, police are authorized to replace traditional handwritten citations with “electronic traffic tickets” designed to speed the roadside ticketing process. These electronic citations, however, cannot be used as part of a photo enforcement system.

“An electronic traffic ticket must consist of at least one printed copy that must be given to the vehicle operator who is the alleged traffic violator and as many as three additional printed copies if needed to communicate with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the police agency, and the trial officer,” South Carolina Code Section 56-7-20 now states.

Requiring that such tickets be handed to the operator of the vehicle, as opposed to the registered owner, will prevent the use of automated ticketing machines. According to a February 1, 2006 ruling by the office of state Attorney General Henry McMaster, municipalities are prohibited from creating local ordinances in an attempt to bypass legal restrictions of this type.

“You have questioned whether a county council is authorized to create an ordinance against speed along with establishing civil penalties and remedies for that violation,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Charles H. Richardson wrote in a letter to Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner regarding photo radar. “In my opinion, such a speeding ordinance would not be authorized.”

Richardson argued that existing state law covers the offense of speeding by establishing a certain level of fines and license points as punishment. Article VIII, Section 14 of the state Constitution prohibits local governments from setting aside “criminal laws and the penalties and sanctions thereof.” Tanner had asked about setting up a civil penalty system to issue speed camera citations.

“It appears that there would be a conflict between the proposed ordinance and the state law prohibiting speeding in that there would be no criminal violation tracked or points assessed against the driver but, instead, there would be a civil penalty imposed,” Richardson wrote. “As to your question of whether it would be legal for a law enforcement agency to send citations to a registered owner by certified mail, no state law authorizes the use of such process.”

Richardson cited a 1996 opinion declaring that those who wish to install photo enforcement systems must first receive approval for their plans from the state legislature.

A copy of the 2006 opinion from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is available in a 175k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Photo Radar Opinion Letter to Sheriff Tanner (South Carolina Attorney General, 2/1/2006)

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Texas: Accidents Increase at Controversial Red Light Camera Intersection http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-accidents-increase-at-controversial-red-light-camera-intersection/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/texas-accidents-increase-at-controversial-red-light-camera-intersection/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 14:44:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336971 Peek-a-boo! (courtesy:northjersey.com)

Accidents rose after the installation of a red light camera at one major intersection in Baytown, Texas. The private company American Traffic Solutions began issuing automated tickets at the intersection of Garth and Baker Roads on March 21, 2008. Since then, safety has not improved at the controversial camera location.

According to a brochure published by the city, “red light safety cameras” were installed because, “There have been more than 1,000,000 accidents and more than 1000 deaths attributed to red light runners that occur each year in the United States.” Presumably, the cameras are meant to reduce the number of collisions and deaths at Baytown intersections.

This has not happened according to accident reports from all three monitored approaches of the Garth and Baker intersection from eighteen months before the installation of cameras compared to the same period afterward. Instead, the total number of collisions grew by 11 percent. Although proponents of cameras frequently suggest that the increase in rear end collisions (31 percent in this case) is offset by the reduction in “more serious” collisions, the data show, to the contrary, that there was no reduction at all in the number of serious injury accidents.

“Remember this when the city tells you it is about safety,” Baytown resident Byron Schirmbeck said. “Keep in mind this is the city’s own report.”

Schirmbeck requested the accident data after noticing that the city had claimed a 63 percent accident reduction at the intersection in its report to the state department of transportation. He found the numbers hard to believe.

Schirmbeck has also twice caught the city shortening the yellow warning time in order to increase ticketing revenue at the same intersection. In June, he challenged the city for using a 3.1 second yellow timing, a value that was set just before camera installation after a “synchronization study.” After the short yellow was exposed, the city was forced the city to increase the timing to the legal minimum of 4.5 seconds. In July, however, the city shortened the yellow to just 4.0 seconds and justified the move by installing a 40 MPH speed limit sign on the 45 MPH road. As of now, the city has replaced the lowered speed limit sign and increased the yellow to the bare minimum allowable time of 4.5 seconds.

Schirmbeck is circulating a petition to put the question of whether red light cameras should be banned to the voters. Earlier this month, College Station residents voted to ban automated enforcement. ATS deactivated its cameras in that city yesterday.

A copy of the accident data is available in a 1mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Baker and Garth Accident Reports (City of Baytown, Texas, 11/24/2009)

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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Shareholder Revolt Takes Out Three Traffic Camera Company Leaders http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/shareholder-revolt-takes-out-three-traffic-camera-company-leaders/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/shareholder-revolt-takes-out-three-traffic-camera-company-leaders/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2009 14:44:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336098 (courtesy:accessdisplays.co.uk)

Angry shareholders yesterday ousted the chairman of the board of a major traffic camera company and two of his closest allies. Redflex Chairman Chris Cooper and Directors Peter Lewinsky and Roger Sawley resigned to avoid an embarrassing vote after learning that a majority of shareholder proxies expressed no confidence in their continued leadership. The internal revolt followed closely upon the revolt of Ohio voters in the cities of Chillicothe and Heath.

Cooper and his wife will retain influence on Redflex as major shareholders in the company, a point the former chairman made while delivering a farewell address to meeting attendees.

“Without doubt, Redflex’s primary basis is as a business entity,” Cooper said. “Its activities are focused on generating a profitable bottom line for the company’s owners — its shareholders…. I intend personally to maintain a significant financial investment in the company and maintain my support for the company.”

Despite the ongoing recession, Redflex boasted of a 48 percent increase in revenue for the Australian company. As 87 percent of the company’s revenue stream derives from motorists in the United States, trouble with American ticketing programs can put the future of Redflex growth on the line. The company explained that the US public is increasingly not paying citations issued by the private Australian company.

“Collection rates in the US business remain an issue and this is a particular focus for the company,” CEO Graham Davie said.”[There has been] a reduction in collection rates in a number of jurisdictions, and particularly in the state of Arizona.”

Management of the Arizona program, which Davie said caused a loss of cash due to “allocation of poor quality deployments for the mobile speed vans” served as a catalyst for the shareholder action.

“Hunter Hall has concluded that, so far, the ‘Arizona statewide’ program has been an expensive failure,” revolt leader Jack Lowenstein wrote on behalf of his firm.

Later today, the top Redflex lobbyist, Jay Heiler, will defend the Arizona photo radar program in a debate with the grassroots group CameraFraud.com at a meeting of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

[courtesy:thenewspaper.com]

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Pennsylvania Resurrects Plan to Toll Interstate 80 Freeway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/pennsylvania-resurrects-plan-to-toll-interstate-80-freeway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/pennsylvania-resurrects-plan-to-toll-interstate-80-freeway/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2009 00:40:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=334540 "With 59 existing interchanges, there will be, on average, one toll collection facility for every 5-6 interchanges, allowing many local trips to remain free. The PTC will offer discounts of 10, 15 or 20 percent to their commercial E-ZPass customers that meet established volume requirements for travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike." (courtesy paturnpike.com)

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (D) has not given up on his dream of adding toll booths on Interstate 80, a freeway that serves as a vital commercial link between New York and Chicago. On October 30, state officials filed an official memorandum to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reopening the application for permission to toll the 311 mile route in order to help balance the state’s budget. “Without tolls on I-80, state lawmakers and the administration would have to plug a $473 million gap in next year’s budget, and that gap will steadily widen,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chief Executive Joe Brimmeier said in a statement.


In July 2008, the FHWA explained that the governor’s plan did not appear to meet the requirements of federal law for conversion of a federal interstate into a toll road. The state’s new filing with federal transportation officials included further details on the proposal, such as planned locations for electronic toll booths and an extensive financial analysis. The deal, authorized at the state level by Act 44 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, faces an uncertain future as a number of key political players remain unconvinced that the Turnpike Commission should expand its reach to previously untolled roads.

“This is the same Turnpike Commission that has been the backdrop for several scandals and a slew of indictments,” US Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Howard) explained in a statement. “Act 44 is a cover-up of years of mismanagement of taxpayer funds and the perpetuation of an antiquated and corrupt Turnpike Commission. This is not fair to the taxpayers in Pennsylvania — not just along the I-80 corridor, but in the commonwealth as a whole.”

An opinion poll taken last year found that 63 percent of voters agreed with Thompson’s assessment. A coalition of business groups, the Alliance to Stop I-80 Tolling, formed to coordinate efforts to block the tolling plan.

“There are simply better options that will generate more money with less hardship,” coalition co-chairman Vince Matteo said in a statement. “The bottom line is that once gantries are up on I-80, local businesses and communities will be crippled and a harsh inflationary rise will be felt throughout the entire commonwealth economy.”

A Grove City College study calculated last month that a 10 cent gas tax increase would raise $600 million at a cost of just 0.5 cents per mile for an average automobile — far cheaper than the per-mile rate of a toll road that requires expensive overhead to operate (view study).

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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