At the moment, it appears that unless PennDOT can work with legislators and the State Treasurer to find a funding solution, it will shut down nearly 400 bridge and highway projects across the Commonwealth.
PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian told Senate and House Transportation Committee members that a revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already shaky financial situation. She estimated the pandemic has cost the construction program between $500 million and $600 million as fuel tax revenue plunged.
Legislative leaders say there are no plans to call lawmakers back to Harrisburg before the legislative session ends on Nov. 30, but, that there are potential ways out of the disastrous shutdown of projects.
This link includes a searchable database that lists the construction projects that are to be shut down.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- In addition to the highway program’s woes, SEPTA said this week it was losing about $1 million per day in fare revenue, also due largely to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Having restored or replaced 550 small bridges across the Commonwealth in a public-private partnership arrangement, PennDOT said it wants to try using a similar arrangement for larger bridges.
- Amtrak is proposing to add another daily Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg round trip in about three years, although the funding source is undetermined.
- An eight-mile section of Interstate 70 in western PA is targeted for modernization and includes reconstruction of the Belle Vernon Bridge.
- PA Republicans, Democrats, business leaders and labor unions agree that infrastructure projects and jobs could be the key to uniting the diverse groups.