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Fri Apr 5, 2019, 03:33 AM

Judge dismisses truckers' federal lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls

Pennsylvania and the state Turnpike Commission found out Thursday that they had successfully defended the stateís right to use turnpike tolls to help pay for public transit, but itís unclear whether that means the commission will be able to resume borrowing to make payments to local transit agencies.

Thatís because hours after U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane dismissed the lawsuit in Harrisburg, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc. and others filed a notice to appeal the decision. Judge Kane found against the truckersí claim that using turnpike tolls for transit and other non-turnpike expenses violated the federal dormant commerce clause, which they say means tolls can only be used for turnpike expenses.

If the appeal means that borrowing is still restricted, the state Department of Transportation has warned that transit agencies and services such as Amtrak will face serious problems in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Under a 2007 state law, the turnpike initially was required to pay $900 million a year to PennDOT in anticipation of federal approval for tolls on Interstate 80. Federal officials rejected the tolls, but the payments remained, although they later were reduced to $450 million a year through 2022.

Read more: https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/04/04/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-federal-lawsuit-dismissed-tolls-truckers-organization-Port-Authority/stories/201904040090

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