PITTSBURGH – Gov. Tom Corbett recently underscored the critical link between public safety and transportation funding, and called for action on additional transportation investment during an event under the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh.
The event was held under the 85-year-old Liberty Bridge. The bridge, which carries nearly 36,000 vehicles each day, is structurally deficient and was very close to being weight-restricted two years ago prior to some minor repairs that were completed.
“This bridge is declared structurally deficient and if it were ever posted with a weight restriction, it would set off a change in traffic flow that could clog other city arteries,” Corbett said. “This is one of 4,000 structurally deficient bridges in the state. There is much work to be done, and we need a transportation plan that provides a reliable stream of funding to keep our roads and bridges in shape.”
The bridge is in need of major repairs and work could start as soon as the fall of 2014 if the legislature passes a transportation funding plan. Without new money, work will not start on the bridge for at least four years, potentially leading to costly “bandage” repairs. The cost of doing nothing today increases costs tomorrow, and deferred repairs will result in diverting funds from other roads and bridges in the region.
Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges,” and these key links literally connect Pittsburghers to the world. Yet spending on bridges in the Pittsburgh region will drop to approximately $53 million next year if the legislature does not approve a transportation funding plan. PennDOT has spent an average of approximately $131.5 million annually on bridges for the last six years in the region.
“In February, I announced my plan to invest nearly $2 billion more in our transportation system that our highways, bridges and transit systems sorely need,” Corbett said. “Without action on transportation funding, we’re not meeting our responsibility to keep our families safe.”
“I am particularly grateful that this week the Senate overwhelmingly passed a transportation plan with a bipartisan majority,” Corbett said. “I thank Senator Scarnati, Senator Pileggi, Senator Costa, Senator Wozniak, and especially Senator Rafferty for their hard work. Now the Senate bill moves to the House for a vote there.”
Corbett noted that with fewer dollars available for transportation projects, roadway conditions will continue to deteriorate and more bridges will be closed or posted with weight restrictions, increasing time for first responders to assist in emergencies and affecting community traffic patterns.
To learn more about Corbett’s plan to improve safety, drive economic competitiveness and create jobs through transportation investment, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.