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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scarnati: About Half a Billion Dollars
Coming to Region for Transportation Projects

The 25th Senatorial District will receive about half a billion dollars in additional funding for transportation projects over the next decade, as a result of legislation passed today in the Senate, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25), who said the measure is vital to public safety and economic development.

Scarnati supported House Bill 1060, which will invest a total of more than $2.3 billion in the Commonwealth’s highways and bridges, transit agencies, railways, airports and ports. It follows the major recommendations made by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission. House Bill 1060 received strong bipartisan support and passed the Senate by a vote of 43 to 7.

The bill, which now goes to the House for final approval, will raise revenue through a number of sources, including adjusting vehicle driver registration fees for inflation, increasing fines, uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax over five years and modernizing many PennDOT services for cost savings.

“Funding raised through this comprehensive transportation plan will make a huge difference in our region, enabling weight-restricted bridges and crumbling roads and highways to be repaired,” Scarnati said.

Scarnati said the bill represents a bipartisan effort to fund transportation projects throughout the state and address critical safety issues. Pennsylvania currently has more structurally deficient bridges – nearly 4,400 – than any other state in the nation, and 23 percent of its 44,000 miles of state-owned roads are in poor condition.

Scarnati noted that the funding initiative will also invest an additional $14 million in rail lines throughout Pennsylvania this year, with a total of more than $88 million allotted over the next five years.

“This comprehensive plan also makes a strong investment in rail lines and airports which are crucial to moving goods and services in rural areas of the state,” Scarnati said. “The plan will provide a boost to our economy through the significant funding for transportation infrastructure and is expected to create 50,000 new jobs.”

Scarnati explained that in addition, House Bill 1060 takes an important step to provide a $30 million increase to the Dirt and Gravel Road Program, which will bring total funding to $35 million annually for maintenance and improvement of dirt and gravel roads.

“Repairing weight-restricted bridges is particularly crucial in rural areas of the state, where motorists have farther driving distances to work, school and other activities,” Scarnati said. “Improving our roads will save motorists time, improve public safety and create good-paying jobs for workers.”

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