Federal Appeals Court Upholds Tolling For General Revenue (OOIDA/NMA lawsuit)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike can keep charging motorists hundreds of millions in tolls every year and use the cash for purposes wholly unrelated to use of the road. That was the decision handed down Tuesday by the Third Circuit US Court of Appeals, which rejected the challenge filed by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the National Motorists Association (NMA) to this funding arrangement. The groups had targeted a state law known as Act 44, under which the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has so far handed over $6 billion in tolling profits to PennDOT for uses that have nothing to do with servicing the toll road. According to the groups, the exorbitant tolls — double the amount needed to run the road — violated the Commerce Clause and hindered the right to travel. The three-judge appellate panel disagreed, pointing to a transportation funding bill that allowed the “use” of excess toll profit for transit projects…