Check out this description of Pennsylvania’s transportation system by PennDOT deputy secretary (and former secretary) Brad Mallory, in an interview with Highway Builder magazine:
“It’s difficult to get your arms around, or your head around a problem as large as transportation funding because it relates to so many aspects. A useful way to think about this is your own home. Let’s say you live in a brand new house. And maybe you don’t take the care of it that you should. Frankly, it will be many years before your mistakes haunt you, before the bill comes due. But let’s imagine that you live in a very old home, and the roof hasn’t been maintained for many, many years, and you make a few critical mistakes, and all of a sudden, literally, there is water pouring down the middle of your house, destroying framing, creating mold, you’re moving out, it’s 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars in terms of repair. That’s Pennsylvania’s transportation system.”
Following up on Wednesday’s post, the House approved the continuing resolution that cuts transportation funding. The Detroit News has the story:
The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a bill that funds the government’s operations through Sept. 30, but cuts nearly $50 million from highway safety grants.
The 267-151 vote makes some cuts that raised criticism from some key Democratic senators.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s grants for seat belt, distracted driving, motorcycle safety and drunk driving crackdowns would be cut by about 9 percent — from $550.3 million to $501.8 million.
“We are also very concerned that the full-year continuing resolution would harm efforts to improve the safety of our transportation system,” said Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday.
“Funding reductions in the continuing resolution would also hamper efforts to enhance and enforce vital safety requirements for cars, trucks and buses,” the letter also said.
Six major highway safety organizations earlier this week called on Congress to fully fund the performance-based incentive funding for states to address key areas of highway safety that include impaired driving, distracted driving, occupant protection, motorcycle safety, traffic records and improving graduated driver licensing laws.
The full story is here.
Footnote: In addition to the lost highway safety money, Politico.com reports that the measure cuts funding by $555 million for highways and $117 million for public transit from levels just approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last summer. Those cuts will trickle down to Pennsylvania, presumably through the leaking roof. The Senate has yet to act on a continuing resolution.
Maintenance work will reduce traffic to one lane on both sides of the Fort Pitt Tunnels from 10 p.m. today through 5 a.m. Friday.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed in both directions for bridge demolition between Butler Valley and Allegheny Valley from 11:59 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
And a reminder: Interstate 79 is down to one lane in both directions long-term at U.S. 422 in Muddycreek, Butler County. Crews are building crossovers for a bridge replacement project that will keep that restriction in place for the next two construction seasons. Big delays are possible.
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