The Faces of 90.5 WESA
Government & Politics
Fri February 15, 2013
AAA Kicks Off “FIX PA ROADS” Campaign
Pennsylvania AAA Clubs are launching a statewide public service outdoor advertising campaign to call attention to the state’s crumbling roads and unsafe bridges.
AAA East Central today announced a campaign to urge state officials to boost funding for the state’s ailing transportation system.
According to Brian Newbacher of AAA East Central, transportation investment has been under-funded in Pennsylvania for decades, and will take some years to fix.
“…and if we continue the way, it will only become more expensive and a bigger problem in the future. So that’s why we say let’s strongly consider what the Governor has proposed here, and even if we can improve upon his proposal, and make the transportation network safe and strong, in the near future and in the long term as well.”
Several studies in recent years have pointed to the continuing deterioration of the state’s highways and bridges due to declining transportation revenue. Forty-three percent of Pennsylvania’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The average age of Pennsylvania’s bridges is 50 years with 42 percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Newbacher said that is definitely a problem.
“…and we don’t want to see it become a worse problem. We would want to see, like what happened in Minneapolis (An eight-lane bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed during the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007 which killed 13 people and injured 145), to happen in Pennsylvania. So that’s why we’re calling on the policymakers to do something this year to get us back on track, get us safe in the future, and strong both safe on the roadways and strong economy.”
Road and bridge repairs and improvements are funded in Pennsylvania primarily through taxes on gasoline but because of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and other factors, Pennsylvania now collects less fuel tax revenue per mile travelled than at any time in the past. A 2010 transportation study determined that Pennsylvania must invest an additional $3.5 billion annually in the state’s transportation system. The funding gap will nearly double by 2020 if not addressed.
Newbacher said driving on bad roads costs Pennsylvania drivers, “$3.2 billion a year – an average of $373 per driver – in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.”