Traffic ahead. Maybe bumpy, too.

Traffic ahead. Maybe bumpy, too.

NORRISTOWN PA – Montgomery County planners continue to move ahead on a proposal to institute tolls on U.S. Route 422 from Valley Forge to Douglassville, as a way to pay for additional local commuter rail service and reduce traffic bottlenecks on the east-west highway.

One of the groups working with the county, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association, has scheduled two June meetings for further public discussion of the project.

The first is set for June 23 (2009; Tuesday) from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Pottstown Middle School, 600 N. Franklin St., Pottstown PA; the second for the following day, June 24 (2009; Wednesday), also from 6:30-9 p.m. at Spring-Ford High School, 350 S. Lewis Rd., Royersford PA.

News reports said county commissioners agreed Thursday (April 16, 2009) to give the county Planning Commission about 3 percent of the $625,000 cost of an 18-month study to determine the project’s feasibility.

The $15,833 payment represents Montgomery County’s share of the expense. Other portions are being paid by the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce, $2,500; the CEO Council for Growth of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, $12,500; and Berks and Chester counties. State and federal government funds are covering the rest.

Planning Commission Assistant Director Leo Bagley says the study tentatively would:

  • Determine how tolls might be collected, and how much revenue could be earned;
  • Identify needed highway improvements, and how traffic could be diverted off 422;
  • Learn how much more money would be needed to improve 422 as a toll road and also extend the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority ( SEPTA) R6 commuter rail service from Norristown west to outer suburbs like Phoenixville, Pottstown and Wyomissing;
  • Get the public involved in the process; and
  • Develop a rail service operating plan.