Where it all began

October 22, 2010

When it comes to understanding Pennsylvania’s highway funding woes, few editorial boards can claim to have a better grasp than that of the Washington Observer-Reporter.

It was in this newspaper’s circulation area that the state’s transportation funding crisis became “official.” In December 2005, a bridge carrying Lakeview Drive traffic collapsed onto Interstate 70 in Washington County, and the funding problem became much more than a few project engineers and construction executives wringing their hands over the shrinking resources of PennDOT.

Since then, there was the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minnesota, a close call with Pittsburgh’s Birmingham Bridge, and the closure of a section of I-95 in Philadelphia when a highway engineer buying a cheese steak noticed a structural failure on the bridge above him (and they say cheese steaks aren’t good for you).

Since then, Pennsylvania’s $1.8 billion annual transportation spending gap has grown to $3.5 billion.

Interestingly, another bridge collapsed in Washington County this week – this one intentionally, after it was deemed unsound when struck by a hit-and-run driver. The Observer-Reporter seized on the occasion to weigh in again on an issue it has watched closely for five years. To read the editorial, click here.

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