Pennsylvania Wake Up Call

September 30, 2013


6 Comments on this post.

  1. John Fitzsimmons, PE
    October 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm
  2. I’ve been inspecting bridges for over 20 years. I’ve inspected bridges in southwest PA, Central PA, and Eastern PA. I have seen the deteriorated bridges first hand. It is worse for the local bridges owners as they have less of a pool of dollars to draw from to repair or replace bridges.

    PennDOT does prioritize the maintenance items in order of Public Safety. The bridges are safe for their Posting. PennDOT’s lowering of the posting of numerous bridges is to help increase the longevity of the bridges without the much needed funding. The local bridge owners have been posting between the inventory level (level at which unlimited number of weight class vehicles) and the operating level (level at which the bridge has occasional vehicles at the maximum posting).

    The gas cap on the tax is $1.25, much less than the price per gallon these days. The increase is to be implemented over a 5 year period, much less of a pump shock than what the oil companies have been doing.

    One thing to remember, there is a point in the life of a bridge where the deterioration increases exponentially, not a straight line increase in deterioration but very rapid. People think that the bridges only deteriorate in the winter from the salt, but the deterioration is affected by the salt laying in the delaminated steel and the heat of the summer increases the deterioration rate of the steel. Moisture helps to increase the rate of deterioration. That is what is so important about the joints of a bridge.

    The increase in taxes paid will be nothing compared to the payments in delay due to detours by us the public and the corporations who will pass the cost onto us anyway.

    John M. Fitzsimmons, P.E.

  3. Michael Pfeiffer
    October 3, 2013 at 9:03 am
  4. Increasing the gas tax is NOT the way to go. How about the roads? I have seen more money spent fixing bridges but not the roads approaching them. Transportation funding has spent far too much money for Septa which would help the heavy highway work. What is the percentage of riders compared to motorists each day across the Commonwealth? SEPTA needs to be privitized. Bottom line….our PA Government needs to get it’s fiscal house in order.

  5. Jason Wagner
    October 3, 2013 at 11:41 am
  6. Mr. Pfeiffer:

    Revenue from the gas tax, Oil Company Franchise Tax, and license and registration fees cannot be and has never been used for public transportation. That revenue goes directly into the constitutionally protected Motor License Fund and can be allocated only for bridge and highway purposes. So, contrary to the assertion in your post, increasing the revenue from the gas tax and those other sources is the ONLY way to go in order to guarantee an adequate level of funding for highways and bridges.

  7. John
    November 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm
  8. Let’s have the state legislature including the governor all take a salary cut that then would fund road and bridge repair rather than up our gas tax, they are good at wasting our taxes now so let’s have them help out.

  9. Barry DAndrea
    November 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  10. Pa will have an excessive tax on motor fuels vs adjoining states– where do you think motoists will purchase their fuel requirements when passing thru PA ? This tax will have an absolute negative effect on the economy. This is an easy out for the legislators — no great efforts to cut expenditures in the general budget. The $ earmarked for public transportation will e essenially wasted as in the past. What a train wreck !!

  11. Jason Wagner
    November 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm
  12. With all due respect, the tax isn’t excessive versus the surrounding states and certainly not out of line for the 5th largest state in the nation with over 44,000 miles of roadway that the state is responsible to maintain. Furthermore, we in Pennsylvania can’t use general fund monies for highway uses so we have to generate those funds to maintain our roadways from those that directly use them via fuel taxes and fees. Those that voted for the new transportation funding law addressed the problem the only way they could and they rightfully recognized that transportation infrastructure is a core function of government and a prudent use of taxpayer dollars.