Posted in Bridge Design | Current Events | Economic Development | Politics | Transportation by Steve Muller (Manager of Client Development) on November 7, 2011
Want a valuable primer on all-things-transportation for Pennsylvania in our current economy? If you haven’t yet heard about Governor Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Council (TFAC), you should. PA is notorious for crumbling infrastructure, including structurally deficient bridges and debilitated roadways. To pursue creative, viable solutions for our transportation woes, Governor Corbett created the TFAC this past spring, to thoroughly investigate and report on a way forward.
The Advisory Council was charged with comprehensively reviewing the movement of goods and people in Pennsylvania, and in August they published a 70 page report of their findings. It’s quite a lesson on our bridges, roadways, public transportation and passenger rail, freight rail, aviation and ports. In the report you learn great facts like these:
- PA has over 25,000 state-owned bridges
- We currently rank worst in the USA for ‘structurally deficient’ bridges, with that number topping 5,200 right now, and a yearly repair rate of about 200 state bridges a year
- We have over 40,000 miles of road, 20,000 miles of which were expected to last 40 years (these are now over 40 years old)
- More than 8,400 miles of our state roads have a poor International Roughness Index (IRI), which measures how much a vehicle chassis vibrates, over a particular length of road (ie, smooth pavement has a very low IRI)
- PennDOT currently improves about 1,750 miles of state roadway a year (might just be shoulder improvements or oil/chip on the surface, etc.)
- A goal is to reconstruct (full reconstruction as compared to improvement) 300 miles to 500 miles of roadway a year, to improve the overall travelling experience and give state roads a new lease on life
You can access the full TFAC report here, including the Executive Summary, Full Report and other information. Part of the report focuses on funding mechanisms to raise the money to pay for the necessary improvements – there is a way forward, but the traveling public will have to pay more to travel.
So, what does this mean to PA citizens and travelers? When you add up things like fees, vehicle registration and tax impacts, the bottom line is $0.70/week (Year 1) to $2.54/week (Year 5) for the typical driver. This amount would grow from the Year 1 to the Year 5 level as the TFAC-suggested programs are implemented. See page 48 and 49 of the full report for some good examples of what typical drivers pay for our state roads, compared to our cable TV, cell phone and electricity bills.
I applaud what the TFAC has done, and the thorough planning and reporting that resulted from their good work. The point now is to put the plan, or at least the best parts of it, into action. That will need to happen legislatively, and with Governor Corbett’s eventual signature. We’ll have to stay tuned, as the final chapter for the TFAC work, and our PA transportation funding, is yet to be written. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback on this important transportation planning and funding work – we’d love to hear from you.Comments (1) | Permalink | Tags: Bridges, Executive Summary, freight rail, Full Report, Gov. Corbett, Infrastructure, PA, Pennsylvania, public transportation, report, Roads, roadways, TFAC, The Transportation Funding Advisory Council
[...] When Governor Corbett proposed his 2013 budget in early February, the PA transportation industry was pleased to see that one of his main initiatives is for funding transportation improvements. It has been a long time coming since release in August of 2011 of a comprehensive report from the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Council. This report made a strong case for funding the $ 3.5 billion gap in transportation funds needed yearly in our state. (See an earlier LDG Blog for more information: The Transportation Funding Advisory Council) [...]