News: Local Bridge Funding Support
- U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has proposed legislation in Congress to lift restrictions on federal funding for locally owned bridges.
- The last time Congress passed highway funding authorization was in 2012, at which time all highway and bridge funding shifted to the National Highway Performance Program, which doesn't cover off-system bridges.
- On Tuesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a proposal to extend federal funding authorization through July to allow extra weeks to plan for a long-term bill before the Highway Trust Fund becomes insolvent.
- Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the nation, with 5,543 out of 22,667 bridges. On average, Pa.’s bridges are about 50 years old, but it’s not uncommon for motorists to travel across spans that have been around for a century or more. Many of these bridges need significant maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement. Age, Mother Nature, neglect, and lack of money have contributed to their deterioration.
- The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors is taking this opportunity to praise the senator for proposing legislation to make this sorely needed funding a reality.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Please consider publishing as a letter to the editor)
May 22, 2015
Contact: Ginni Linn
Director of Communications
Townships Applaud Sen. Casey for Local Bridge Funding Support
The following statement was issued today by David M. Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, which represents the 1,454 townships of the second class across Pennsylvania. Townships, in turn, represent more residents — 5.5 million Pennsylvanians — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth and cover 95 percent of the commonwealth’s land mass.
“On behalf of the PSATS Executive Board and our member townships, we applaud U.S. Sen. Bob Casey for proposing legislation to lift restrictions on federal funding for locally owned bridges, called ‘off-system’ bridges. The change in regulation would mean bridges traditionally paid for with state and local money could be eligible for federal money.
“Many of these local bridges in Pennsylvania are critical connectors in the overall transportation system, but without adequate funding, local governments are hard-pressed to come up with the money to repair or replace them. At jeopardy is the day-to-day travel of local residents, buses taking children to and from school, and essential delivery and emergency vehicles.
“It is critical that all of the commonwealth’s transportation network partners – the state, counties, and townships – have the proper funding to maintain and restore the state’s network of bridges so they are safe and structurally sound.
“Sen. Casey has recognized this need and is committed to providing the necessary resources to create a safe and reliable transportation system for our communities, our businesses, and our children.
“This legislation would help our member townships do their part in making sure Pennsylvanians remain safe and economically competitive. We urge Congress to pass Sen. Casey’s legislation to bring badly needed funding to Pennsylvania’s – and the rest of the nation’s – local bridge system.”