Everything a toll-hikers group wants for our roads

Next week, 1,500 Pennsylvanians will meet in places across the state for the Pennsylvanians Against the Toll Coalition’s Fifth Annual Blue/Green Pow Wow. This is to honor the Americans who died while on the nation’s roadways and to stand up for the rights of those to be able to come home in one piece.

This past year was a fitting time to commemorate these men and women. That’s because the Conservative Political Action Conference was occurring in Maryland with its annual speeches by those who support shrinking government and lowering taxes — not maintaining the current roadways.

The roadways and bridges that so many Americans use are an essential part of our daily lives. While these toll roads may be broken and neglected by some, we strongly encourage our state lawmakers to commit to doing what is right.

It’s simply time to bring our highway system into the 21st century and to use the billions of dollars in revenue from these tolls to do it.

The cost of a day on the highway should not be considered to be an impediment to working and to supporting families. It’s time for our state leaders to implement the following reforms:

• Freeze the cost of a day of tolls at zero dollars.

• Cancel the 50-cent increase slated for 2024, and replace it with actual infrastructure investment projects.

• Ban tollgates and fees for residents and eliminate expiring contracts that require us to pay the billions of dollars to the bondholders.

• Set a 21st century mission for our roads. We have to stop doing things the same way we have for generations.

And as we march towards a new federal government with a real vision for infrastructure, we encourage our neighbors, friends and families to join us and take a stand for a dignified and sustainable transportation system.

If we do all of these things, we will bring a renewed sense of hope and pride in a time when we face real challenges and real jobs.

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