Much depends on funding in governor’s proposal

PennDOT’s scheduled work for Warren County over the next four years includes seven bridge projects.

If Gov. Tom Corbett’s transportation funding package – the Decade of Investment – is approved, the county will see more than 80 bridge projects and more than 30 sections of road improvement over 10 years.

The governor, following the recommendations of his Transportation Funding Advisory Committee, plans to eliminate a cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax over five years. He said the deregulation will generate about $1.8 billion a year once the cap is gone.

PennDOT has unveiled a website that shows where those dollars would be spent. It also shows proposed projects at current funding levels and under Senate Bill 1 which adds two more intersections – Route 6 at Railroad Street in Youngsville and at Route 27 in Pittsfield Township – to the governor’s plan. The website is www.dotdecade.pa.gov.

“I made a commitment to Pennsylvanians, and their elected officials, to create a map showing the benefits of additional transportation funding because Pennsylvanians have a right to see how their precious dollars are being invested,” PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said. “This tool allows the public to see how the state, their region or local area of interest would benefit from the raised level of investment.”

Starting in 2017, $1.2 billion per year would go to state-maintained roads and bridges, with another $200 million going to local roads and bridges. Turnpike expansion, public transit, and multi-modal (rail, air, and ship transport) improvements add up to another $415 million per year.

“On the website, the public can view projects in their region sorted by county, transportation planning partner, or state Senate and House districts,” Schoch said.

According to the Decade of Investment website, under the “Cost of Doing Nothing” tab, the state stands to lose 12,000 jobs if transportation funding remains flat, or gain as many as 50,000 jobs if the governor’s plan is put into action.

The increased funding options would counteract “decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure,” according to PennDOT. There are about 4,000 structurally-deficient bridges in the state and 9,200 miles of road in poor condition.