Now Joe Hoeffel Wants Your Attention

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Mar. 25, 2010

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In the week’s latest episode of Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates saying things to get noticed, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel says if he were elected governor, would “double the $2.3 billion the state contributes to PennDot for highways and bridges,” the Inquirer reports.

While it’s true much of the state’s road infrastructure isn't up to par (PennDot says 38 percent of roads and bridges are just sucktastic!), we hardly think Hoeffel would be able to keep his promise in the middle of a recession, with the state senate trying to close a huge budget gap.

Hoeffel thinks he can come up with the cash by raising gas taxes, raising the price of auto-registration stickers and using money the state hopes to gain by tolling Interstate 80 (the same money, coincidentally, SEPTA wants to use to fund its capital projects and pay its workers; not to mention U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hasn’t approved of tolling the center-state drive-through, so, as of yet, there is no money).

The Daily News reported this week that polls are finding Pennsylvanians indifferent to the 2010 race to replace Ed Rendell. It’s so bad, two-thirds of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats don’t have a preference in their respective primaries. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato leads Democrat polling – with 11 percent!

As we’ve reported, guv candidate Sen. Anthony Williams has made his presence known introducing bills that would lock up mom and dad. AG Corbett is trying to deny increasingly popular national healthcare legislation to satisfy the wing of his party responsible for amped up security on Capitol Hill.

It’s anyone’s game, so now’s the time to say wacky stuff. But at least Hoeffel is talking about things that would affect his potential governorship. And at that, his plan to raise taxes will be especially unpopular (as is his stance on gay marriage, abortion amd universal, single-payer health care) with Pennsyltuckians.

He may not win, but we gotta respect Joe Hoeffel for his reluctance to waffle, ever.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. Piper said... on Mar 25, 2010 at 09:53AM

“I'm never one to be thrilled about tax increases, but Hoeffel's I-80 plan sounds solid, because it doesn't tax locals for using the road, but does tax the big trucks using the whole road and they're the ones causing the most damage. Doesn't make sense for SEPTA to get northern money though.”

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2. Gaffer said... on Mar 25, 2010 at 10:11AM

“Currently, I-80 and SEPTA receive funding out of PennDOT's operating budget. When I-80 tolls provide additional revenue -- revenue which will support I-80 -- that frees up a lot of PennDOT's operating budget (which had been supporting I-80) for other projects, including SEPTA. So it's not inconsistent to say the I-80 tolls will basically improve funding for both I-80 and SEPTA.

And yes, this tolling plan (which PennDOT actually developed a couple years ago) would allow local traffic (which doesn't really tear up I-80) to travel toll-free while tolling the high volume of heavy trucks traveling between the Port of New York/New Jersey and the Midwest (which do really tear up I-80). It's a win-win for the locals, really: their road finally gets the funding it desperately needs, and they don't personally have to pay for it. Those trucks aren't stopping to fuel local economies; there's virtually no negative impact for the communities along I-80.”

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3. JeffersonLeeEng said... on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:40PM

“So, it's all about protecting the local interests? Out-of-state long-run heavy trucks don't directly contribute to the upkeep and wear and tear of the roadway so you make them pay. There's a thing in the US Constitution about that...it's called the "Interstate Commerce Clause".

Still, when it comes to non-locals (SEPTA/Philadelphians) trying to a piece of the pie, northern Pennsylvanians get all defensive. Last I checked, Philadelphia is still a part of Pennsylvania.

Sheesh...”

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4. Anonymous said... on Mar 25, 2010 at 02:19PM

“80 should definitely be a toll road, just like 76 is. and they should toll everyone who uses it. get an EZ pass, local drivers and stop complaining. with the deficits city, state, and the federal government are facing, we, the people, are clearly going to have to pay up--whether in the form of mass transit fare hikes, soda taxes, or highway tolls.”

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5. D said... on Mar 26, 2010 at 08:06AM

“I'm amazed at the people falling for this I-80 toll scheme. Gambling revenue was supposed to save this state from financial woes. That money grab didn't get it done, though. Now we need this new 'magic pill'. You people want tolls on 80? Fine. Then toll every interstate highway in the state. THEN you have something that's actually fair. I wonder how many of you like that idea??? Really, why didn't PA apply to toll the NEWLY CONSTRUCTED I-99? That wouldn't have been illegal, like tolling an existing federal highway is. As usual, Pennsylvania is a day late and - pun intended - a dollar short.”

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