PA launches $550M Philadelphia infrastructure program
- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf have announced a $550 million outlay to improve roads and bridges around Philadelphia, according to Equipment World.
- The work, which will either begin or be bid during the 2017 construction season, includes paving approximately 235 miles of highway and repairing or replacing 35 bridges.
- The funding is in addition to the state's Road Maintenance and Preservation (Road MaP) initiative, which will see an investment of $2.1 billion in maintenance and highway and bridge projects in the state during the next decade, according to the governor's office.
In an environment of flat federal funding, many states have taken it upon themselves to fill the gap and launch their own infrastructures programs. Common financing sources include borrowing, bond issues, an increase in gas taxes or other driver-related fees like vehicle registration and tolls.
The move toward states taking on more responsibility for projects of local or regional significance is one of the lynchpins of President Donald Trump's 2018 budget request.
In April, California lawmakers passed a massive $52 billion infrastructure spending initiative. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the state's backlog of highway and bridge repairs is currently at $130 billion, with half its roads in need of upgrades or improvements. The state legislature approved several fees to pay for the program, including a 12-cent hike in the gas tax.
Indiana is also raising the state's gas tax — 10 cents per gallon — to help fund a seven-year, $5 billion infrastructure program. The increase is expected to cost state residents an extra $63 a year, but legislators said residents are willing to pay the price if it means an improvement in the quality of roads.
The citizens of Utah received a surprise last month courtesy of the state transportation commission when it was announced that the agency would deliver an extra $1 billion for state infrastructure projects. The state legislature agreed to borrow the money so that critical projects could be completed according to a more aggressive schedule.
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