Pennsylvania’s large transportation system is getting old.
Nearly 6,000 of the state’s bridges were deemed structurally deficient in 2008. Its 40,000 miles of state-maintained highway — making it No. 5 in the nation — shows critical signs of wear. Truck traffic on 1,754 miles of interstate highways is more than double the national average.
Last November, Pennsylvania tired of waiting for Washington to address its transportation problems and took matters into its own hands.
Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a bipartisan transportation bill giving the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $2.3 billion over five years to repair and maintain state roads and bridges, plus the mass transit system.
That’s on top of the $6 billion a year PennDOT was set to receive.
“The extra resources were critically needed,” PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says.
Although some conservative lawmakers criticized the bill because it raises Pennsylvania’s gas tax to pay for road improvements (the increase will be phased in at the wholesale level), the move represents an attempt by a state to regain control of its transportation destiny.