Corbett emphasizes need for transportation plan

HARRISBURG– With action on a transportation plan delayed until later this month, Governor Tom Corbett recently underscored the Philadelphia region’s need for a comprehensive transportation plan, and urged citizens to call their lawmakers and demand action.

Negotiations on a compromise transportation plan will continue when the General Assembly returns to session Nov. 12.

“Passage of a comprehensive transportation plan is crucial,” Governor Corbett said. “A ‘yes’ vote will mean long-stalled projects will move forward and bring tangible safety and economic benefits to the Philadelphia region.

“It’s a core function of government that our infrastructure can connect our people and our economy and then they can connect to the future,” the governor added. “I’m urging the members of the General Assembly to approach this issue in a true spirit of compromise that will bring that bill forward to my desk this year.”

Corbett also noted that several regional highway, bridge and transit projects would be completed during a Decade of Investment, such as:

Replacing the U.S. 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River at Betzwood, and replacing the bridge carrying Route 23 over U.S. 422 in West Norriton and Upper Merion townships in Montgomery County for $149 million.

Two construction projects to reconstruct pavement and widen to add two lanes along eight miles of U.S. 322 from U.S. 1 to Interstate 95 in Delaware County for $216 million.

Replacing seven bridges over Interstate 676 in the City of Philadelphia for $110 million.

Replacing the Crum Creek Regional Rail Bridge Viaduct in Delaware County for $58.4 million;

Rehabilitating the Norristown High Speed line viaduct over the Schuylkill River for $19.9 million; and

Replacing aging electrical substations, such as the $39.2 million Jenkintown substation project, serving the regional rail lines and Sharon Hill-Media trolley lines.

A list of potential highway and bridge projects that could be funded with a significant transportation bill can be found at www.dotdecade.pa.gov

The Philadelphia region will continue to see roadways become rougher and see more bridges become structurally deficient without a transportation bill. The future of transit is also in question without the legislature passing a plan.

Additional resources are needed for SEPTA, which provides more than 300 million rides a year in the Philadelphia region. The agency has outlined severe cuts to trolley, subway and regional rail service over the next decade if a deal is not reached soon.

“If SEPTA cuts service, or if they can’t make basic repairs to bridges, electrical systems and other service needs, it would cripple the region,” Corbett said. “This area is already ninth in the nation for traffic congestion – adding to our transportation woes in the region would be a disaster for our citizens and our entire state’s economy.

“People should understand that a ‘yes’ vote for transportation means that lawmakers are taking a much needed step to deal with pressing transportation needs all across Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “In short order, if the General Assembly can reach agreement on a bill and send it me, PennDOT and SEPTA will be able to deliver on their promises of better transportation.”

For more information, visit www.pa.gov.