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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

The Penn State Tax

While other statewide organizations and politicians have laid out the case against tolls on Route 80, at Safeguard Old State, we take special issue with the negative effects it would have on the campus community.  Make no mistake, as far as SOS is concerned, this plan constitutes a “Penn State Tax” because of the disproportional toll (pun intended) it will take on life in Happy Valley.

Probably more than half of non-regional University Park students will make some or most of their trip between school and home on Interstate 80. Rising gas prices have already put a crunch on the limited budgets of PSU students who need, or simply desire, to visit home regularly. Implementation of tolls on I-80 would make those trips even more of a financial hardship.

Others have voiced concern for the many Pennsylvanians who commute to work using I-80, but what about the Penn State (and other college) students who will make 10 or more extended trips a year on the road? Forget the stereotype of the spoiled college kid. With out-of-control tuition, outrageous prices for underused textbooks, a litany of barely-legal student “fees,” lack of housing on campus and skyrocketing rental prices downtown, paying a double or triple tax to travel I-80 adds yet another financial burden for the thousands of lower income students seeking an education at the Commonwealth’s land-grant college.

Safeguard Old State is their voice.

What about those seven weekends out of the year when State College becomes the third largest city in the Commonwealth?  Droves of Penn State fans flocking to the Centre Region to take in the Greatest Show in College Football will be inundated with tolls and (perhaps worse) frustrated by gridlock traffic that makes the current football-inspired jams seem quaint by comparison.  Imagine the chaos that a Centre County toll booth on I-80 would cause on home Saturdays – it’s no small thing.  Literally tens of thousands of rabid Penn State football fans (most of whom finance I-80 with their taxes in the first place) already incur massive costs and endure excessive frustration for the pleasure of cheering on their Nittany Lions.

Safeguard Old State is their voice, too.

In short, opposing the Penn State Tax on I-80 is simply yet another way to Safeguard Old State.

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