|Rep. Dan B. Frankel
23rd Legislative District
|Frankel backs funding for transit, repairs to roads, bridges|
I know that district residents have been paying attention to the regular reports in the media about our transportation crisis. My office has seen a steady flow of constituent letters, e-mails and phone calls, asking for action on the possible Port Authority cuts, as well as the deteriorating state of the bridges and roads across the state. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania continues to face a transportation funding deficit of nearly $500 million per year, in part because the federal government blocked the tolling of Interstate 80. Somehow, we must make up the lost revenue.
Legislators have proposed many options for finding the funds we need. The proposals range from increasing vehicle registration fees -- currently among the lowest in the country -- or raising the gasoline tax by a few cents per gallon, to instituting new tolls on interstate highways where cars and trucks enter and exit Pennsylvania. I understand the dire transit situation we are facing across the commonwealth; I will continue to support options that benefit both mass transit and our ailing roads and bridges.
A large percentage of people in the 23rd District, as well as the entire city, rely on the Port Authority as primary transportation for school or medical care, or to do basic shopping and visit our regional attractions. Additionally, close to 6,000 bridges across the state have been labeled structurally deficient, placing Pennsylvania at the top of the national list. Not only will adequate funding for mass transit and road and bridge repair ensure the flow of commerce and the basic daily activities of our community members, but it is also projected that for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure projects, around 30,000 jobs are created.
In Allegheny County alone, 51 road and bridge repair projects have been put on hold because of the I-80 ruling. Providing stable, dedicated funding for local mass transit and badly needed road and bridge repairs is a priority for me as the legislature returns to session.