02 October 2007

Rendell to Toll the Life out of Northern PA

All this guy cares about is Philly. I'm sure he'll be on Comcast very soon triumphing the Phillies while figuring out how to re-direct the majority of the state's tax money to his favorite city. The guy is a scumbag. He's New Jersey's lap cat and a pretty dangerous politician in that he actually seems like a pretty cool person. To bad, he's a complete moron with no concern for anyone who lives outside of Philadelphia and with no economic sense. He's all set to put his little "Interstate Privatization" gambit in motion, starting with I-80. There's no way the legislature will allow the insane tolls he wants along I-80, 11 in all from East to West. The Republican legislature here in my home state usually only puts up a minor fight, so they will fold one way or the other. Again, this tax and spend mentality is beyond stupid. Here is a good chunk of the article from my hometown paper, The Morning Call:

Gov. Ed Rendell said Wednesday he'd only sign off on legislation repealing the placement of tolls on Interstate 80 if lawmakers send him an alternative that raises as much money.

One of those options could be privatization of the Turnpike, Rendell said at a news conference. But he's only interested in handing over the Turnpike to a private entity if the state can wring a minimum of $1 billion to $1.4 billion out of the deal.

''I would not sign legislation repealing [the I-80 tolls] unless I'm signing something that produces as much, if not more, than I-80,'' Rendell said.

State officials believe they can raise an average of $900 million a year over a decade for road and bridge repairs and a mass-transit bailout through a combination of I-80 tolls and borrowing.

A cadre of state lawmakers from northern and north central Pennsylvania has begun pushing for repeal of the legislation that authorized the placement of as many as 10 tolls on the 311-mile length of I-80.

Those lawmakers argue that turning the freeway into a toll road would have a disastrous effect on local commerce, scare away tourists and unfairly penalize area residents who use I-80 to get to and from work.

So Rendell is basically blackmailing the legislature, or holding it hostage, you pick your terminology. He won't repeal the tolls unless he is given another revenue that will equal what he expects from this disaster waiting to happen. The tolls in themselves make no sense. It works out to a toll every 31.1 miles. That will choke off all trucking routes up north and divert them south towards the Lehigh Valley....and Philly. Why is that important? Well, let's say trucks turn down Rt 33 or come across I-78, 22, or the roads down near his hometown. You can pretty much guarantee that the payloads get dumped off to other companies who can essentially duck these tolls, which sends more money down into Philly. Secondly, even if this were not to happen, the opposition lawmakers are right. The people who live along I-80 would be totally screwed. Another effect would be the huge increase of traffic along I-78, which is pretty much at capacity now. Any massive shift of traffic down this way will coke out the other major route in NYC and crush the population here in the Lehigh Valley, as a large, large portion of us travel into NJ for work and vice versa. The fact of the matter is, when Gov. Ridge was in charge, sure we had problems. However due to Rendell's lovely handling of the state outside of Philadelphia we have seen higher taxes, a crazy amount of sprawl that has resulted in displaced rain water, which used to be absorbed into farmland rapidly finding its way into the Delaware River, resulting in numerous, disastrous floods, decrepit roadways and bridges, a sudden booming of the population in illegal immigrants (how many illegal immigration raids have there been in the Easton suburbs over the last few years?) and numerous other problems. His promised "real estate tax" relief is never going to happen, he isn't even trying for the state. The only people who received any tax relief of any kind were located in.....you guessed it...Philadelphia, where his buddy John Street so corrupted and horribly ran the city that for as much as NYC improved, Philly, a city I have a great affection for, has gone to hell. They are at a record for murders already and still have the better part of three months left in the year. This hack has to go.


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