turnpike Photo: 90.5 WESA

OOIDA sues over Pennsylvania turnpike tolls

Group claims toll charges “far exceed” cost to maintain the roadway.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a class-action lawsuit this week against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for what the group calls “excessive toll increases” that place an “undue burden on interstate commerce” while “improperly diverting toll revenue” to other projects unrelated to roadway maintenance, repair, and expansion.

OOIDA, in a joint effort with the National Motorists Association, said it also requested an injunction to halt the turnpike from overcharging customers to pay for non-turnpike projects, stop the turnpike from borrowing money to help make Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) payments, prevent PennDOT from the spending the money it received from the turnpike, and to refund the money to turnpike users.

“The tolls charged far exceed the value of the use of turnpike and the costs to maintain it,” said Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of OOIDA, in a statement. “Truckers have especially overpaid the price at as much as 70 cents per mile.”

 The lawsuit – filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg—noted that federal interstate commerce laws for the turnpike hold that tolls can only be used to maintain or expand the 359-mile highway for which the tolls are levied.

 “Truckers and motorists are not ATMs to fund everything under the sun,” Spencer added. “The ongoing, economic drain on unsuspecting turnpike users is the epitome of highway robbery.”

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