Report highlights Pa. transportation challenges - Pottstown Mercury

Anyone on the road or rails is familiar with the litany of Pennsylvania's "crumbling roads, failing bridges, aging rail cars and buses along with hours of time wasted on congested highways and inner-city gridlock."

But while those may be the all-too-common complaints of everyday drivers and passengers, the same litany makes up the assessment of a Pennsylvania House task force that forecasts a looming crisis in our transportation infrastructure.

Its report, titled "Build to Lead" and released in November, found that the re-structuring of the gasoline tax and hiking of license and vehicle registration fees meant to increase funding for transportation infrastructure have proven inadequate to the state's growing needs.

The lag in infrastructure repair and upgrades threaten to hobble economic growth.

"Pennsylvania’s transportation system has fallen into an alarming state of disrepair and is in critical need of new funding. With today’s growing economy placing increased demands on our infrastructure, we must rise to meet the needs of families and businesses across the Commonwealth," wrote the report's authors, 10 members of the House of Representatives, chaired by Philadelphia-based state Rep. Martina White, R-170th Dist.

Among its recommendations are the King of Prussia rail extension; an increase in regional rail capacity; a feasibility study for the passenger rail in the Reading-Pottstown-Philadelphia corridor; giving counties and cities the ability and authority to create local funding solutions and public/private partnerships to expedite construction projects.

Central to both the past shortfalls and recommended upgrades is a dedicated source of funding. Inadequate funding and the diversion of transportation funding to the state police has increased the backlog of work, according to the report.

Cuts to transportation projects "Costly delays due to years of underfunding have left Pennsylvania with an aging infrastructure and has forced new projects to be put on hold indefinitely," according to the report.

Click here to read the full article.