Casey: Federal Highway Projects Across PA, Nation Could Grind to Halt In Weeks Without Action by Congress

According to Transportation Department, Highway Trust Fund Will Have a Shortfall as Soon As Late July / Casey Pushes Plan to Keep Trust Fund Solvent Through December, Keep Job Creating Projects On Track / Regional Data Shows Stopping Projects During Middle of Construction Season Would Harm PA’s Economy, Stunt Job Growth

Casey: Federal Highway Projects Across PA, Nation Could Grind to Halt In Weeks Without Action by Congress

Washington, DC- With federal highway projects set to grind to a halt in the coming weeks without Congressional action, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today laid out a plan to push for passage of a measure that will keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent to keep critical job creating infrastructure projects on track for this year. According to the Department of Transportation, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) could see a shortfall as early as late July. Halting these infrastructure projects could negatively impact job creation and economic growth.

“Failing to fund the Highway Trust Fund would be harmful to the Commonwealth’s economy, and would result in a transportation shutdown as soon as mid-July,” Senator Casey said. “A safe, reliable and modern transportation system is vital to commerce in Pennsylvania. Congress has an opportunity to strengthen our infrastructure with this legislation, and I’m calling on Democrats and Republicans to come together on this commonsense step to improve infrastructure and create jobs.”

The Preserving America’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act would keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through the end of the year. While negotiations are ongoing, measures being considered would raise approximately $9 billion that would keep the fund solvent through the end of the year. 

Infrastructure spending creates jobs, and failure to fund the Highway Trust Fund could cost jobs across the country.  A study issued by the Department of Transportation states that for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure, between 27,000 and 37,000 jobs are created.

In Pennsylvania alone, federal investment has supported $4.8 billion in bridge construction from 2003-2013. Pennsylvania still leads the nation in the highest number of structurally deficient bridges at 5,543 (according to Transportation for America).  Nearly a quarter of all of the bridges in state are structurally deficient.  The average age for bridges in Pennsylvania is 54, which is very high.

Community leaders across Pennsylvania have expressed support for the Highway Trust Fund. Below are remarks from several leaders who are in favor of the plan:

Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce said: “In order to ensure that Greater Philadelphia continues to grow, it is essential that we make the investments in our transportation infrastructure that will allow residents to travel safely and efficiently across the tri-state area. It’s therefore critical to our region that federal lawmakers bring solvency to the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorize a comprehensive, long-term, and flexible federal infrastructure funding program that will create jobs that come from highway, bridge and transit-related projects and improvements.”

Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission said : “Nearly half of all the money Pennsylvania receives to maintain or replace our aging transportation infrastructure comes by way of the Highway Trust Fund.  Our Federal leaders must take on this funding challenge once and for all and provide a long-term and sustainable funding solution in support of our nations’ infrastructure.  A strong transportation system here in North Central Pennsylvania, where 1- 4 bridges are structurally deficient, depends on it and it is critical to the entire Pennsylvania economy that we have a well maintained transportation system for future generations.”

Jack Machek, President and CEO of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania said: "Uninterrupted federal transportation infrastructure investment is urgently needed for Pennsylvanians to be able to travel safely to important destinations including work, shops, and schools.  In fact, there is an urgent need to expand this investment, not abdicate our responsibility altogether.  Any failure by Congress to continue transportation funding flowing uninterrupted would also be the epitome of fiscal irresponsibility-- as numerous studies have proved that deferred or delayed professional transportation asset maintenance today will necessitate future repairs and reconstruction costing eight to ten times as much.  We should never pass that burden on to our children." 

Regional data for Pennsylvania’s FY2015 federal transportation allocation is below:

Region

Total

Delaware Valley

$259,610,000

SWPA

$224,518,000

Harrisburg

$34,084,000

Scranton/WB

$39,580,000

Lehigh Valley

$46,834,000

NEPA

$24,243,000

SEDA

$27,668,000

Altoona

$6,379,000

Johnstown

$11,859,000

Centre County

$8,189,000

Williamsport

$6,347,000

Erie

$10,856,000

Lancaster

$31,004,000

York

$17,094,000

Reading

$37,872,000

Lebanon

$5,826,000

Mercer

$8,792,000

Adams

$5,169,000

Franklin

$5,997,000

Total Urban

$811,904,000

Northwest

$21,733,000

N. Central

$20,431,000

N. Tier

$15,802,000

S. Alleghenies

$14,690,000

Wayne County

$3,212,000

Total Rural

$75,871,000

Interstate Program

$317,378,000

Statewide Program

$17,593,000

Statewide Reserve

$221,045,000

GRAND TOTAL

$1,443,789,000

Source: LINK

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