Those who don't want to pay I-80 tolls in Pennsylvania

Filed for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

HARRISBURG — Tolling Pennsylvania’s portion of Interstate 80 would create an “economic Chernobyl” in areas along the interstate, a Bloomsburg businessman said.

Paul Eyerly, president of Press Enterprises, was one of the two dozen people who rallied at the state Capitol Monday to oppose tolling I-80.

“We’re going to drive people away from Pennsylvania,” state Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Altoona, said.

A few of the rally’s 25 attendees attacked Act 44 — a transportation funding law from last July that would institute I-80 tolls.

The groups, including truckers, cited congestion and loss of business as reasons to repeal Act 44.

Under Act 44, I-80 tolls would help raise nearly $1 billion annually for transportation infrastructure. Lawmakers would need to find a funding source if Act 44 is overturned.

The federal government hasn’t approved tolling the interstate.

“I have never seen legislation that so threatened my business,” said Pat Kahle, whose grandfather founded Zacherl Motor Truck Sales in 1940. His company is just off I-80 in Clarion, and he fears truckers will find ways to avoid I-80 and so choose other truck parts providers. “Customers will absolutely bypass us.”

See it on Pittsburgh Live.

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