Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews says tolls on route 422 might be the only way to get much-needed improvements to the highway, but local motorists are already paying for road construction through the gasoline tax, and putting new tolls on top of it would force them to take a double hit. “I’m leaning towards I would vote against it if it was up to me even though it’s the only avenue we see right now, but things change. I just think it’s unfair to our people here because we’re paying a terrible burden. We pay an inordinate share of the turnpike expense with the tolls here and the usage down here. We pay more than our share.”
Matthews says the tolls could cost motorists as much as a $100 a month. He chairs the county commissioners, and Vice Chairman Joe Hoeffel says he thinks raising the gas tax is a better idea, but the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission will not consider that because Governor Tom Corbett opposes it.
“That commission has been told that they’re not allowed to recommend a gas tax increase. It’s off the table. In light of that, I don’t see an alternative except a local toll. It needs to be considered, aired out, public input taken. The controversy, or course, is right now they’re riding on the road for free even though they’re paying federal and state gas taxes. They’re riding on the road for free and now we’re asking them to pay for it.”
Unlike the Schuylkill Expressway, Hoeffel says Route 422 is fixable. He says it needs a second bridge over the Schuylkill River and a wider roadway. He and Matthews appeared Wednesday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.