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*  AND IT STILL APPLIES: "The report identifies Congress itself as being dysfunctional. We therefore call upon each of you to have the courage to be part of the solution, and embrace fundamental change in the way the Congressional committee oversight system operates." –Testimony of Beverly Eckert before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform Hearings to Review 9/11 Commission Recommendations; Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004.

*   THE HUMAN: The most intelligent of any species on the planet and yet has done the most to destroy the very system that keeps everything alive.

 *   As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.

    ---H.L. Mencken, the Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

*   IT COULDN'T BE DONE:  Somebody said that it couldn't be done, but with a chuckle replied "maybe it couldn't," but he'd be one who wouldn't say till he'd tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin on his face. If he worried, he hid it. He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.

    Somebody scoffed "Oh, you'll never do that, at least no one has ever done it," but he took off his coat and he took off his hat, and the first thing we knew he'd begun it. With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, without any doubting or quiddit, he started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.

    There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, there are thousands to prophesy failure; there are thousands to point out to you one by one, the dangers that wait to assail you. But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, just take off your coat and go to it, just start in to sing as you tackle the thing that "cannot be done" and you'll do it.

     –Edgar A. Guest.


PennDot wants to toll I-83 bridge  

PennDot has announced it wishes to turn the I-83 bridge over the Susquehanna River into a toll bridge to raise funds towards its replacement. Below is PennDOT’s description and reasoning:

The I-83 John Harris Memorial (South) Bridge was built in 1960, and widened in 1982, and connects downtown Harrisburg to its neighboring communities to the west in Cumberland County. The bridge currently carries more than 125,000 vehicles over the Susquehanna River every day.

At 61 years old, the South Bridge is nearing the end of its serviceable lifespan, which means that wear and tear requires more regular, frequent, and costly repairs. In addition to the replacement of the bridge, I-83 on the west shore will be widened and improved to meet the traffic needs in the area.

The purpose of the I-83 South Bridge Project is to improve traffic flow and safety around the Harrisburg metro region. The project is currently undergoing environmental studies to complete the Environmental Assessment.

The South Bridge project is intended to address several needs:

    The bridge's aging structure. The bridge is approaching the end of its serviceable lifespan and most of the pavement on the project corridor is over 50 years old. This means that in the near future, wear and tear on the bridge will cause the need for more frequent and costly repairs.

    Current and increasing traffic volumes. The current bridge and roadway do not adequately support today's traffic and won't be able to handle future traffic volumes.

    Need for design improvements. The existing roadway system is outdated and in need of updates to meet current design standards.

    Limited bicycle and pedestrian mobility in the project area. On the west shore, I-83, the existing interchange design and the location of the railroad hinder the ability for people walking and cycling to access communities and businesses north and south of the interstate and railroad.

The improvement project includes the total replacement of the South Bridge, widening the bridge to five lanes in each direction, and reconfiguring the Lemoyne interchange on the West Shore. A proposed alternative has been developed to accommodate a widened I-83 across the new South Bridge and improve the interchange in Lemoyne Borough.

PennDOT is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project to address the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). An EA is a detailed study of how a project would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources, natural resources, and more. The EA for this project is expected to be released for public review and comment in Summer 2021.

The estimated construction cost for this project is between $500 million and $650 million. PennDOT has an annual highway and bridge funding gap of $8.1 billion. Due to this funding gap, South Bridge is proposed as a potential candidate for bridge tolling as a part of the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative. The funds received from this bridge toll would go right back to the South Bridge to pay for its construction, maintenance and operation. A bridge toll is a fee that drivers pay when using a specific bridge, often by using a service like E-ZPass.