Infrastructure Funding

The biggest project yet under the public-private partnership, or P3 law, passed in 2012, will replace 558 of Pennsylvania's 4,200 structurally deficient bridges by 2018. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has released the final list of bridges, whittled down from 2000, and has reached out to private companies to submit bids for the project. PennDOT says this approach will get the job done quicker and more economically. 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there could be a shortfall in the highway trust fund (HTF) as soon as mid-July.

For much of the country, that could mean a halt to construction on bridges and roads.

“What we’re facing in transportation is the transportation equivalent of a government shutdown, it is that simple, but it is that stark and disturbing if folks don’t start (to) surrender some of their predispositions on what should happen next,” U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said.

Pittsburgh’s Recovery Coordinators have submitted a new plan – the third since the city has been under distressed Act 47 oversight – to get the city into solvent financial shape.

In addition to eliminating operating deficits and reducing the city’s debt payments, the latest plan to get Pittsburgh out of commonwealth oversight focuses on beefing up the employee pension fund.

The U.S. House has passed an amendment by Representatives Mike Doyle (D - PA - 14) and Tim Murphy (R - PA - 18) that could mean funding to remedy sewer overflows in Allegheny County.

The amendment - the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) - aims to finance the creation or renovation of water and wastewater infrastructure through low interest rate federal loans, loan guarantees and possibly grants.

Doyle said he has been working for years to secure federal monies to bring outdated local sewer systems into compliance with modern water quality laws.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is sometimes known as the city of bridges, but without additional funding, bridges in disrepair are likely to be weight-restricted and mass-transit systems will have to scale back projects.

This month, legislative leaders are reportedly continuing discussions about transportation funding in the commonwealth and hope to map out a proposal that could be voted on by mid-November.

How to fund transportation improvements hit a traffic jam this summer.

House Republican leaders wanted to spend less than the $2.5 billion the Senate passed, and neither can agree on where to get the money.

To try to break the gridlock, the House Appropriations Committee hosted a hearing in Pittsburgh Wednesday to explore how investments in infrastructure can generate economic growth.