PennDOT Considering New Toll on Philly Bridge

The transportation agency is facing budget issues and weighing new methods to raise revenue.

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Citing an unstable funding system that swings downward in times of economic struggle, PennDOT announced Thursday a new plan to raise cash for repairs and other projects.

To complete the work that could cost billions, the agency will consider adding new tolls to nine bridges across the state which need repair, including Philadelphia's Girard Point Bridge.

The two-deck bridge, part of Interstate 95, spans the Schuylkill River and connects the city to Philadelphia International Airport. PennDOT says the bridge could use repairs on the roadway, structural steel and piers. The bridge could also be painted and be evaluated for "fatigue."

No date has been set to start the construction and a final decision hasn't been made to establish on a toll to recoup the construction, maintenance and operations costs.

If the toll were added, it would be payable via E-ZPass.

PennDOT says its environmental impact review of the project will assess what other routes could be taken to avoid the toll, and the impacts on the community. A public meeting will be held for residents to weigh in and hear more about the project.

The bridge repairs and possible new tolls come as the agency tries to take advantage of a period with low interest rates and available labor.

A report in 2013 found that nearly 600 of the state's bridges were listed as "fracture critical" or "structurally deficient."

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