There's no love lost between Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but a measure under consideration by the Pennsylvania legislature could spark an all-out war between the states. If passed, the state will attempt to erect toll booths on 11 interstate roads where they enter Pennsylvania, soaking Buckeye visitors and those from other states every time they cross the border. Either way.
Like many other states, the Pennsylvania state budget has been strained by the recession, and the state was turned down by the Federal Highway Administration in its plan to make I-80 into a toll road like I-70, both of which cross the state east and west. This is its newest brainstorm to address a $500 million shortfall in the state's transportation budget.
Yes, it will cost out-of-staters a buck to enter Pennsylvania, and another buck to leave. Truckers would be soaked for a five-spot either way. I'm calling this measure a case of keystone kleptomania.
The legality of such a measure is open to question, however. I spoke with Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, who was skeptical of the whole concept, explaining that this new plan could only be done with federal approval as a pilot project, and if that were the case, all funds collected on a road would have to be spent on that specific road. So unless the overdue federal transportation bill now crawling its way through Congress would change the ground rules, there is no way that Pennsylvania would be able to pull off this heist.
As an Ohio resident, if this proposal did pass I'd like to see our state erect its own toll booths on our side of the border, and charge each Pennsylvania resident $2 to enter or leave our state. And make that $20 if they are displaying a Steelers logo.
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