This week our Coalition was honored to meet with PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, who made an excellent presentation about PennDOT’s impending financial challenges. The large conference room at PennDOT headquarters was pretty well packed, and there were many others listening in on a conference line.

Unfortunately, the news is troubling. Despite the significant progress PennDOT has made since the passage of Act 89 five years ago, it appears that next year’s construction budget will drop by $300 million, to $2.2 billion as the funding gap continues to grow.

Of greatest immediate concern is funding for public transportation, Secretary Richards said, due to the sunset of an annual subsidy from the PA Turnpike for $400 million. That subsidy has meant annual toll increases, and tolls will continue to increase even though the subsidy will end.

All told, the $3.5 billion funding gap calculated in 2010 will more than double by 2020 unless policymakers act. And the time to act, the secretary said, is in the first half of 2019.

 As we have often repeated in this space, the passage of Act 89 did not mean our Coalition would be out of business. We will continue to advocate for adequate funding – for all modes of transportation – as we enter the second half of PennDOT’s “Decade of Investment.”

Transportation Issue Update