HARRISBURG — This week PennDOT offered a settlement to Bridgeville Borough and South Fayette and Collier townships in a lawsuit the three won against PennDOT related to its bridge tolling scheme. If accepted, PennDOT promised to not appeal the municipalities’ victory to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, said Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny).
In response, Ortitay, who has spearheaded the fight against the tolling plan, issued the following statement:
“After Commonwealth Court unanimously ruled against the tolling plan, which is exceedingly rare in these politically charged times, PennDOT continues to grasp at straws. It’s over, Secretary Yassmin Gramian. Take the loss and move on. Wasting money on additional court battles in this case is an insult to the taxpayer.
“We have spent months of time and money fighting PennDOT tooth and nail on the tolling. This settlement proposal only benefits PennDOT. For months I offered to sit down and meet with PennDOT Secretary Gramian to come to an agreement. Instead, her office just continued to postpone meetings. If she was sincere about working this out, we would not be where we are today.
“It’s obvious to me that PennDOT is just trying to save face. The state could have saved a lot of time, millions of dollars and energy if the Wolf administration had just played by the rules to begin with and followed the law. Now that Act 84 of 2022
to revise the transportation P3 process has been signed into law, I urge PennDOT to not appeal the ruling, start its work over under the new law and work with the Legislature.”
In November 2020, the P3 Board voted to toll interstate bridges it planned to repair or replace but did not name the specific ones. Three months later, in February 2021, PennDOT announced the list at the governor’s direction. According to Act 88 of 2012, the board must assess each project’s scope, framework and impact on citizens and do a cost/benefit analysis before approving a project. Bridgeville Borough and South Fayette and Collier townships filed suit in November 2021 demanding PennDOT be stopped as it violated this law as the board did not do its assessment. Earlier this year, attorneys for the three municipalities assisted Cumberland County and several municipalities in southcentral Pennsylvania to file a similar lawsuit related to the Interstate 83 bridge in Harrisburg. In March 2022, PennDOT hired a foreign company to be the lead contractor on the tolling projects. On May 18, Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler issued a preliminary injunction in the Cumberland County suit ordering PennDOT to stop all work on its tolling plan until the entire court could rule. On June 30, the Commonwealth Court unanimously ruled that PennDOT violated the law with its tolling scheme.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick