HARRISBURG – PennDOT this week launched a new Web site — www.Rideonpa.org — to keep Pennsylvanians informed about progress in solving the state’s transportation funding crisis. Earlier this year, Gov. Edward G. Rendell proposed a two-pronged approach to secure the $1.7 billion needed annually for safe, reliable roads, bridges and public transportation.
Rideonpa.org provides a comprehensive view of the condition of the state’s 40,000 miles of roads and bridges, and the severe funding shortfall that threatens the economic stability of local regions that would result from significant public transit cuts across Pennsylvania.
The Web site will provide ongoing updates and information on the progress toward solving the transportation funding crisis. Interactive features will soon be added to the site so users can see which roads and bridges are in need of repair in their area. Also in the coming weeks, information will be added to the site regarding an ongoing financial analysis of options to determine how best to get the utmost value for taxpayers and the driving public.
Users will find details on various funding proposals, including the governor’s idea to lease the 537-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike and use revenue from a new oil corporation gross profits tax to create a dedicated funding source for the state’s 73 public transit agencies.
Despite record investments in bridge and road repairs in the past four years, Pennsylvania has more bridges in critical need of immediate repair than any other state in the nation.
Leveraging the value of the Turnpike is expected to generate the $965 million per year necessary to fund highway and bridge repairs. The Governor has said he is committed to getting the best deal, with the least economic impact, on taxpayers and the driving public. In any deal involving the Turnpike, the state will retain ownership and control of the asset. A deal would also include safeguards to control tolls, ensure highway maintenance and protect workers.
Rendell expects the oil corporation gross profits tax to generate the $760 million per year for public transit systems which have grown to providing more than 400 million rides annually.
The severity of the funding crisis is outlined in a report from the bipartisan Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, which identified a total of $1.7 billion in annual needs.