Update @ 5pm: Publicola helpfully reports that this could affect funding for SR-520.
After a year spent lobbying states to develop “alternative” revenue sources for replacing the federal government’s rapidly shrinking budget for roads and transit, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood rejected Pennsylvania’s request to implement tolls on I-80, citing a law that prevents such funds from being used for anything but the roads where they’re raised.
This is unfortunate in two ways. First, quite aside from transit advocacy there’s a pretty strong case that congestion pricing on existing roads would improve the situation for drivers and freight traffic. By restricting the use of this money you put a cap on how much you can charge this way.
More importantly, transit advocates have been contemplating tolling as the next big source of transit revenue, as there is little appetite for a further increase in the sales tax. Those interested in finding a way to have an ST3 vote this decade may have to find the cash somewhere else.
The good news is that the law in question is the 1998 transportation bill, so this isn’t some kind of long-standing precedent.