Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Kathy Liebler, 717-939-9551, ext. 2840

March 22, 2001



CARLISLE – (PA) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today filed a complaint in Commonwealth Court against Marshall Township and Pine Township claiming the municipalities are intent on using their local zoning laws to prohibit construction of a modern toll plaza on the Turnpike in Warrendale, Allegheny County.

The complaint states that the townships’ opposition to the toll plaza is having immediate and imminent consequences in connection with the Commission’s plans to convert the entire Turnpike to a new electronic toll collection system, (E-ZPass). The Commission maintains that in order to meet full implementation of E-ZPass, the Commission must put the construction of the Warrendale facility out to bid immediately with construction starting on June 1, 2001.

The Commission maintains that "Any delay to implement electronic toll collection will have an immediate, direct and harmful impact on the safe and efficient operation of the Turnpike, will increase the cost of the project by millions of dollars and will result in unnecessary hardship to motorists who use the Turnpike and who will be deprived of the benefits of improved safety and reduced congestion."

Turnpike Executive Director John Durbin said, "We’ve been meeting with Marshall and Pine Townships for more than two years now, and have gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate their concerns and to respond to their questions about this important and necessary project. We’ve submitted plans for review by township engineers, met individually with residents to listen to their suggestions and requests, conducted air quality studies and noise analysis and have made several other adjustments to comply with the municipalities’ requests."

"However," he continued, "the townships have advised the Commission that they do not want the toll plaza built in their municipalities and that no construction can take place without approval of a variance in their municipalities. The Commission believes that the townships have no intention of granting any variance and that any zoning submission would be a futile exercise. We cannot afford to wait any longer. We are requesting the courts to give us the green light for this toll plaza. Its construction is absolutely necessary in order to maintain a safe, modern, and valued roadway."

Currently, E-ZPass for passenger vehicles only, is operational between Interchanges 18 through 33 with seven additional interchanges to be added effective May 19, extending the system between Interchanges 16 through 37. Full implementation across the entire Turnpike for passenger vehicles is scheduled to occur in fall 2001 with commercial vehicles scheduled for inclusion in 2002.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649