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Angle: Let's Abolish the Bridge Commission

Councilman gets a majority vote on the resolution, prompted by recent toll increase.

You may hate the idea of toll increases on Delaware River Bridges, but Northampton County Councilman Ron Angle is reserving his anger at the people behind it.

In fact, he wants them gone. 

At Thursday's county council meeting, Angle introduced a resolution -- which passed by a 5-4 vote -- in support of legislation in New Jersey that would abolish the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

The commission earlier this week announced it would raise tolls on its bridges connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey from 75 cents to a $1, starting July 1.

"We have reached a juncture where we can't put off a toll adjustment any longer," Frank G. McCartney, the commission's executive director, said in a news release. "Further postponement of a toll restructuring would jeopardize the agency's credit rating, drive up borrowing costs, and undermine our ability to execute capital projects in a cost-effective manner."

The news has prompted at least one New Jersey lawmaker to talk about getting rid of the DRJTBC. And Angle -- who told his colleagues "I've detested the bridge commission for as long as I can remember" -- said it's time for the same thing to happen in Pennsylvania.

Angle's resolution simultaneously supports efforts in New Jersey to do away with the commission and asks Pennsylvania lawmakers to follow suit. He argues that the states could get rid of the DRJTBC and uses its funds to maintain the bridges.

But some council members expressed skepticism about the idea. Councilman Mike Dowd said the motion was premature.

"Often we find ourselves in a situation where it’s ready, shoot aim," he said.

And Councilman Thomas Dietrich said he didn't trust the states to maintain the bridges.

"If we took a vote of confidence on PennDOT…" he began.

"It wouldn't be there for me," Dowd added.

Bernie O'Hare May 06, 2011 at 12:38 PM
I believe McHale's behavior during last night's meeting deserves its own story, especially since it involves a Sunshine Act violation.
maryann schmoyer May 06, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Angle wants to see everyone who does not agree with him gone ,they are all are no good lazy bumbs . And Bernie Iam sure you scare Ann McHale get a life.
gruntled May 07, 2011 at 01:44 AM
Ah, Bernie, ain't it great to see that the comments you get here are every bit the equal of the educated, thoughtful comments you get on Ramblings? Tom - Good article....the difficulty here makes you wonder if there may be a way to keep the commission but make them more efficient. Is 40-50% more efficient unreasonable?
Bernie O'Hare May 07, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Gruntled, Actually, the comments here are a little better because people like Maryann Schmoyer have to identify themselves and accept responsibility for their words ... and poor spelling.
J. Drew Stefancin May 08, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Isn't the bridge downtown supposed to be free anyway? Once it was paid for with tolls, I mean. Didn't we pay it off years ago?

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