COURT HALTS PENNDOT’S I-83 BRIDGE TOLLING PLAN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Camp Hill, PA, May 19- A judge has granted the request of a group of local communities to halt the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plans to toll the I-83 South Bridge.
On May 18, 2022, Judge Ceisler of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ordered PennDOT, the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Board, and PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian to cease any action on the I-83 Bridge tolling project as part of litigation filed by Cumberland County, the boroughs of Camp Hill, Wormleysburg, Lemoyne, New Cumberland, and the townships of Lower Allen, East Pennsboro, and West Hanover. Judge Ceisler’s order also upends PennDOT’s entire multi-billion dollar Major Bridge P3 Initiative, affecting nine proposed bridges across the Commonwealth.
PennDOT’s proposed plan includes a $1-2 toll to cover repairs to the I-83 South Bridge, which would remain in place for at least 30 years. The coalition of boroughs and townships engaged Salzmann Hughes, P.C. to file the litigation after significant concerns were raised about the initiative. Paramount among those concerns is the economic burden the toll places on local drivers, in addition to the increased traffic on local roads from those diverting routes to avoid the tolls.
The communities and the law firm argued that the toll project was implemented without appropriate consultation or review processes. Moreover, they argued the public’s best interest was not determined. Isaac Wakefield, of Salzmann Hughes, P.C. stated that Judge Ceisler’s decision was an “enormous victory for the communities” and emphasized that, “the communities were able to demonstrate that there are immense impacts that simply weren’t considered by PennDOT.”
Judge Ceisler found that Act 88, Pennsylvania’s Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Law, was violated stating, “[t]he [P3] Board essentially approved a massive multi-billion-dollar infrastructure initiative on an admittedly meager record, consisting of a 4-page recommendation from DOT, a presentation, and minimal discussion, and without understanding which, or how many, pieces of public infrastructure the Initiative would affect.” She continued noting that the P3 Board violated Act 88 by failing to “engage in any meaningful consultation with ‘persons affected’ by the Initiative, as Act 88 requires.”
Those “persons affected” by PennDOT’s plans include the Borough of Camp Hill, according to Alissa Packer, President of Camp Hill Borough Council. She explained, “PennDOT has inaccurately framed its plan to impose tolls on the I-83 South Bridge as a necessary solution for repairing infrastructure and ensuring public safety. However, tolling for use of the I-83 South Bridge will create increased infrastructure and public safety problems for our community not prepared for such immense changes in traffic flow.”
While the merits of the case remain to be decided, the preliminary injunction is a substantial victory for the municipalities. Camp Hill Borough Solicitor Lee Stinnett, II, of Salzmann Hughes P.C., remarked, “We will continue to work towards making the injunction permanent for the communities we represent and for the best interest of the Pennsylvania public at large.”
For additional information, please contact E. Lee Stinnett at Salzmann Hughes, P.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (717)234-6700.
About Salzman Hughes, P.C. Attorneys at Law
Founded in 1995, Salzmann Hughes, P.C. is a regional law firm with five southcentral PA locations and over 60 lawyers and professional staff. If you decide to hire an attorney at Salzmann Hughes, P.C., you will have access to years of extensive experience in commercial and residential real estate, estates and trusts, business/corporate law, labor and employment, municipal law environmental law, zoning and land use, and general litigation. Our clients range from large corporations with sophisticated legal issues, to individuals with basic legal needs, to over 100 PA municipal clients and other government entities. Need solutions now? Let us put our knowledge to work for you. Learn more at https://salzmannhughes.com/