Governor Tom Corbett announced Aug. 14 that the State Transportation Commission, building on the Act 89 transportation plan, has updated Pennsylvania’s 12-Year Transportation Program with a sizeable boost in much needed transportation improvements. The new plan anticipates $63.2 billion being available over the next 12 years for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads. That compares with $41.6 billion in the last update two years ago.
“Today’s action represents a significant step forward to addressing all transportation modes,” Gov. Corbett said. “Act 89 provides a solution to a decades old problem and the Legislature and I showed that unlike Washington, we are able to put partisan politics aside and do what’s right for Pennsylvania.”
Championed by Corbett, Act 89 will add $2.3 billion a year in transportation investment by 2017.
“Thanks to Governor Corbett and the Legislature, the people of Pennsylvania will see smoother roads, fewer bridges in poor condition, reliable transit services and added resources for aviation, rail freight, bicyclists and pedestrians,” said PennDOT Secretary and Commission Chairman Barry J. Schoch. “The details of those improvements are outlined in the update the State Transportation Commission adopted today.”
The newly adopted program, which takes effect Oct. 1, anticipates $12.3 billion being available for highway and bridge projects in the first four years. Public transit is in line for $7.9 billion; aviation, $370 million; the state’s rail-freight systems are expected to receive $228 million; and the newly created multimodal fund will receive $284 million in the first four years.
Four Rural Planning Organizations, 19 Metropolitan Planning Organizations and one Independent County partnered with PennDOT in the review and development of the update. It will now be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval. The Federal Highway Administration coordinates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review the plan’s conformity with air quality requirements.
Highway funds listed in the 12-Year Program are distributed statewide using a formula that weighs population, lane miles and vehicle miles traveled. Bridge funds are distributed based on the condition of each region’s structures.
The commission consists of 10 appointed citizens and the majority and minority chairpersons of the state House and Senate Transportation committees.
State law requires the commission to review and update the 12-Year Program every two years. No capital project can move forward unless it is included in the 12-Year Program.
Some of the key projects funded by Act 89 and included in the updated 12-Year Program are:
• Continuation of the four-lane US 322 from the top of Seven Mountains to west of Potters Mills in Centre County.
• Construction of the long-awaited expansion of the Conchester (U.S. 322) Highway between Route 1 and Interstate 95 in Delaware County.
• The initial steps to lay the groundwork for the Interstate 83 master plan expansion through Harrisburg.
• The initial steps leading to the widening of U.S. 22 in the Lehigh Valley.
• Start of design work for the 13-mile long Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway in Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties.
“These improvements will dramatically improve mobility for people across the state and are moving ahead because of our leadership and ability to build a consensus on matters that are critical to the state’s future,” Gov. Corbett said.
Information about the 12-Year Program Update is available at this link: http://www.talkpatransportation.com/