- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is spending an estimated $1 billion more on the state's roads and bridges than it has in recent years as a result of the state's 2013 Act 89 transportation funding bill, Trib Live reported.
- PennDOT will spend a total of $2.4 billion across approximately 820 projects this year, with at least $625 million worth of work underway and $443 million already finished.
- PennDOT spokesperson Erin Waters-Trasatt said that because of Act 89, which state officials call a "historic investment" into the state's infrastructure, Pennsylvania no longer leads the nation in "structurally deficient" bridges.
Pennsylvania House Bill 1060 (Act 89), signed into law in late 2013, increases state transportation investment by up to $2.4 billion over a five-year period through various gas and business tax initiatives.
According to a 2015 American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) study, approximately 10% of the bridges in the U.S. (about 600,000) were structurally deficient. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation said at the rate of current infrastructure investment, it would take the agency 21 years to work through a $115 billion backlog of repairs. First on its list of priorities is the country's collection of older, heavily traveled bridges.
But, as PennDOT officials said, they have been able to repair enough bridges to make the state's roads and highways safer for motorists, and, over the last few years, other states have launched their own bridge repair and replacement initiatives as well. It was only last week that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a two-year, $200 million bridge overhaul and replacement plan funded by the state's BRIDGE NY program. Municipalities will compete for bridge money through a competitive application process, focusing on bridges with weight restrictions, those at risk of flooding or structural deficiencies and those impeding economic development.