Gov. Edward Rendell is pushing for an additional $130-million investment in the Keystone State's transportation system in 2007 as part of Pennsylvania’s proposed budget. Part of that extra money would be earmarked for bridge repairs, to a record high of $500 million.
In the last three years, Pennsylvania invested $13.3 billion of state and federal dollars on highways and bridges – resulting in some 18,000 miles of roadway built, reconstructed or repaired over that time.
“Every community knows that good roads and bridges are critical to the economic success of the commonwealth,” Gov. Rendell said. “They help us attract new business and new jobs; they help us get our products to market; and they improve the quality of life in our communities. For Pennsylvania to remain competitive, it must continue to make strong investments in its infrastructure. So this additional $130-million investment should improve the quality of our roads and enhance the maintenance and the safety of our bridges.”
In 2005, Rendell created a $28-million bridge preservation program and has proposed adding an additional $20 million to that, bringing the fund for the new fiscal year to $48 million – used to address Pennsylvania's aging bridges. Annual spending on bridges has risen from $259 million in 2002 to $427 million in 2005, when more than 600 bridges were either improved or had preservation work – with $500 million targeted for bridge improvements in 2006.