Back in 2007, the outfit submitted an application to the Federal Highway Administration to charge on I-80. However, the paperwork was denied because officials needed an analysis of the fair-market value of the deal.
Now the Turnpike believes it has taken the proper steps to win approval, and expects to turn in a more complete application to the FHWA sometime in October.
Federal approval of I-80 would fill a huge funding gap in Pennsylvania. State legislators passed Act 44 in 2007, which requires the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to make payments to PennDOT each year to support road and bridge projects across the Keystone State. However, lawmakers assumed that tolling on I-80 would be approved relatively quickly. If the Pennsylvania Turnpike cannot toll I-80, its contribution will drop from $900 million this year to $450 million in 2010.
“What we’ve found from our discussions with the [highway administration] district people is that they believe in it. They think it is a great idea,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. “It is just going to be what the upper echelons decide.”