I-80 Toll Road Proposal Expected to Hurt Modular Housing Industry

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Current plans to toll I-80 will be extremely damaging for Pennsylvania's modular home industry - an otherwise bright spot in the state's economy. The Modular Building Systems Association (MBSA) and its members strenuously oppose efforts to toll I-80 on the grounds that it is bad for the Pennsylvania economy and will cost many rural Pennsylvanians their jobs.

Ritz-Craft ships somewhere between eighty and ninety-five percent of our homes on I-80. Finding alternative routes is simply not feasible.

A Pennsylvania law to toll Interstate 80, passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature at the request of Governor Ed Rendell may help prop up Philadelphia's mass transit system, but the new proposal will have a devastating effect on Pennsylvania's modular housing industry, states The Modular Building Systems Association.

Representative John Perterson (R-Pleasantville) stated in July that "Like the middle of the night pay-raise and the gambling legislation, this reckless, short-term fix to toll interstate 80 was voted for in haste without consideration of the negative, long-term economic consequences."

This proposal will result in higher housing costs and the loss of vital jobs many of them in rural areas of the state. The tolling of Interstate 80 will place the modular housing industry, a major employer throughout Pennsylvania at a clear competitive disadvantage as the industry competes against modular companies located in the surrounding states.

Currently, modular homes and other oversized loads are unable to be transported on the Pennsylvania Turnpike due to the size limitations at the toll booth areas. Similarly sized booths on I-80 could likewise destroy Pennsylvania's modular housing industry and put thousands of workers in mostly rural areas out of a job.

When asked about the plan to toll I-80, Mike Clementoni, Executive Vice President of Muncy Homes in Muncy, PA stated "We transport approximately ninety to ninety-five percent of our homes on I-80. Tolling I-80 will be devastating for our company." Similarly, Ron Weaver, Transportation Manager with Ritz-Craft Corporation in Mifflinburg, PA stated that "Ritz-Craft ships somewhere between eighty and ninety-five percent of our homes on I-80. Finding alternative routes is simply not feasible."

Pennsylvania is the top producer of modular homes in the Northeastern United States and one of the top three (3) production states within the entire country. Approximately forty (40) percent of all homes produced in Pennsylvania are transported to other states and even if appropriately sized booths are placed at tolling areas, the toll fees and other related costs will add thousands of dollars to every home. "This makes modular homes built in Pennsylvania much less competitive with homes built in other states," says Don Shiner, President of DeLuxe Building Systems in Berwick, PA, "the cost of our homes will increase not only because of the tolls imposed when we transport the finished home to the job site, but also on raw materials being delivered to our factories, employees traveling on company business, the return of empty undercarriages to the factories for reuse in transporting the next home, time delays in transporting our homes that will result from I-80 being a toll road and other, additional factors. In short, we can not help but think it will have a major impact on our overall cost structure, with no added benefit to us or the end home buyer."

As a result of the large number of modular home manufacturers located in Pennsylvania, an entire industry of building material and supply companies have located in Pennsylvania to service the industry. This proposal to toll I-80 will affect every supply company shipping materials to the manufacturers.

On Friday, November 30 the Modular Building Systems Association (MBSA) is participating in the "Perspectives on I-80 Symposium" sponsored by the Clarion Area Chamber of Business. Steve Snyder, Executive Director of the MBSA stated, "The Clarion County Chamber's I-80 Symposium is an excellent opportunity for industry, local government and individuals to come together and have their voices be heard in opposition to this ill conceived plan to toll I-80. The Modular Building Systems Association and our membership strongly oppose the proposal to toll I-80 and are extremely concerned that this plan will have a dramatic negative impact on our industry. Our members are located in predominantly rural areas and in many cases are the major employers in that area. Pennsylvania cannot afford to lose these companies."

The Modular Building Systems Association lobbies on behalf of the modular housing industry throughout the northeastern, southern and mid-western United States. The MBSA is the only association in the U.S. involved solely in legislative and regulatory affairs on behalf of the modular housing industry. The MBSA was formed in 1977 as a small association of Pennsylvania modular housing manufacturers shipping homes throughout the northern United States. Today the association represents approximately 65 manufacturers located throughout the Northeastern, Southern and Midwestern states and Canada. Of that number, 29 are located in Pennsylvania. In addition, there are over 70 building supply company members of the MBSA that ship building supplies and materials to the modular manufacturer.

For more information on how tolling I-80 will hurt Pennsylvania's modular housing industry, negatively impact homebuyers and damage Pennsylvania's economy, please contact Steve Snyder or Chad Harvey at the Modular Building Systems Association at (717) 238-9130.

For more information on the "Perspectives on I-80 Symposium" please contact Tracy Becker at the Clarion Chamber of Commerce at (814) 226-9161. The Symposium is being held at the Zion Baptist Church in Reidsburg, PA from 9am to approximately 1pm and is open to everyone.

If you have any questions or would like additional details about any information noted in this release, please contact the Modular Building Systems Association at (717) 238-9130 or on the web at: http://www.modularhousing.com.

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