For too long, Bridgeville has been spending taxpayer money maintaining the crumbling, potholed mess that is Bower Hill Road. That would be fine if Bower Hill Road was some infrequently traveled local road that should fall under the borough’s jurisdiction.
But let’s be honest, Bower Hill Road—including the part that lies within Bridgeville’s borders—is a major traffic artery that’s vital to the travel and commerce of a large swath of southwestern Allegheny County.
PennDOT should be responsible for Bower Hill Road.
Earlier this year, borough council formally asked PennDOT to take control of the Bridgeville section of Bower Hill Road. Yet, nothing has changed.
If PennDOT won’t assume responsibility, then it’s time for Bridgeville to make the road pay for itself.
Build a tollbooth.
Former councilwoman Mary Weise floated the idea at Monday’s council meeting. She said that she was half-joking, and half-serious. Mayor Pasquale DeBlasio didn’t hate the idea, either. Most councilmembers laughed, but didn’t say anything.
The editors of this website are 100% serious. Do it.
Granted, it’s probably illegal in Pennsylvania for local governments to begin collecting tolls, as solicitor Thomas McDermott pointed out.
We say build it anyway.
Even if it’s not operational, even if it’s a wooden tollbooth facade, like something out of Blazing Saddles, it would hammer home the message that a statewide agency with a $3.8 billion budget shouldn’t rely on a tiny community to keep spending money on one of the more atrocious, heavily trafficked stretches of road in the commonwealth.
Of course, building a tollbooth costs money, too. The obvious solution is to sell the naming rights. Or perhaps Bridgeville could find funding for a tollbooth by hiring an outdoor installation artist to design it and then declaring that the whole thing is a provocative piece of public art making a statement about modern government.
Worse ideas have become reality.