Why a CANTR Member Opposes the Mon/Fayette and Southern Beltway Toll Roads
Hotline, Fall 2001
by William D. Bellas, Secretary, Citizens for Alternatives to New Toll Roads
Citizens for Alternatives to New Toll Roads (CANTR) has been opposing the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway for almost a decade. These white elephant toll roads have been pounding away at our door since 1985 when Governor Casey was in office. The passage of Act 61 gave the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the authority to build new highways using toll revenues to finance bonds for construction. As of now this bonding is maxed out, and so is our air quality.
Air quality is particularly important — we cannot survive without breathable air. All we really need to do is look around in the City of Pittsburgh and ask WHY? Why would trees defoliate in mid summer at the height of their growing season? Is it because of automobile pollution leading to an ozone problem? You can be certain the internal combustion engine has a lot to do with it.
I can speak to the environmental issues regarding the placement of this toll road with great authority since I live in Hazelwood. Many do not know that this toll road threatens no less than six miles of prime river front property and natural wilderness untouched for over 100 years. This toll road will disrupt the natural surroundings that make our rivers so beautiful. The pristine river bank is a natural flood prevention buffer for Point State Park. Without this buffer the Point is more likely to flood. The run off from three major highways and the Mon-Fayette Expressway juxtaposed will have considerable adverse effect and the potential for flooding will increase.
There is an even bigger issue here. Where do these people who will be displaced by the building of this toll road go to live? The Turnpike is required by law to give a house for a house. Where do these poor people go to live? Will you welcome them into your community?
The Pennsylvania Turnpike should not promote new highway expansions until they can take care of what they already have. These roadways are in dire need of repair and upgrading. The building of this toll road will be a financial nightmare for all Pennsylvania residents. We pay at the pump, at registration of our vehicles, at tollbooths and by degradation of our environment. Can we afford this toll road? Finally the State of Pennsylvania cannot afford two major highway departments competing for the same pot of federal and state tax dollars. Fix it first before new is built.