Monday, July 02, 2007

Of Toll Booths, Interchanges and Landfills

These three are hot discussion topics around here lately so I will offer some of my views. The idea of tolls on I-80 is the most recent. I will start with that and work my way back to the landfill.

The Pennsylvania legislature has recently proposed to collect tolls on I-80 to raise funds for road repair and construction, and for mass transit. This is not a new proposal. The idea has been advanced at least a couple of times before, but it has never happened (yet). I am not against the idea, but I personally would not pay a penny to drive on that road. I am not as widely traveled as some people, but it is the worst road I have ever been on. Every summer, huge stretches, probably more than 50 percent of the distance across the state, are ripped up for construction. So you end up putzing along a less than one lane wide "road" for mile after mile after mile. And if there is a wreck or breakdown, forget it; you're stuck for hours. In the winter, when there is snow or ice, the Penndot idea seems to be to wait for the stuff to melt rather than plow or salt. And then of course you have these jackasses that don't seem to realize that when there is snow or ice on the road or the visibility is poor, it might be a good idea to slow down (or even get off) so you don't end up in or causing one of those famous 100-vehicle wrecks that backs up traffic halfway across the state. I would rather take Gorton Rd to Ohio, if it went that far. Now if you are lucky there is a week or two in the late fall and early spring, between winter and construction, that the road can almost be a joy to drive on, IF it isn't filled with bumps and potholes. Now the idea is to scatter some toll booths across the state. One at each border and a few others who knows where. These will be permanent traffic bottlenecks. All traffic will have to stop long enough to pay. Vehicles will back up. Then there will be wrecks as someone will
be barreling along, not realize the traffic is slowing or stopping, and smash into someone. This will make the road even more dangerous than it is now. Plus the towns near the toll collection sites will have an increase in traffic as vehicles temporarily exit to avoid the tolls. The only safe way to collect tolls, and it will be expensive , at least at first, is to put toll booths at each interchange, like the turnpike.

Now on to other matters. I feel that the proposed landfill near the border of Rush and Snow Show Township should be built, but ONLY IF the proposed I-80 interchange is built along with it. Rts 144,53, Gorton Rd and others are simply not built for the big trucks that would be going in and out of there. And the interchange does not have to be open to Gorton Rd. It could be for the landfill only, so long as the landfills owners pay for it and none of our tax dollars are used. The landfill could bring some good jobs to the area. As far as the land use is concerned, sure it's wooded now, but a generation or so ago it was mined and logged, so it definitely has a history of being other than woodland. And there used to be a landfill in Snow Shoe Township anyway. With new technology, this one would probably be cleaner than the old one.

So Sayeth The Shack

1 comment:

Jeni said...

At the risk of getting pummeled here, should someone who lives near me read this, I agree with your theories especially about the landfill as well as tolls on I-80. Landfills, in my opinion, are like Unions - a necessary evil. But, if handled properly, there should be no problems with them. Making I-80 a toll road -I don't see that as being the salvation some think it would be.