PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What most people took away from Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget address on Tuesday is that gas prices could go up even further to pay for our region’s transportation and road costs.
But the transportation secretary says without the money, some of the projects may not get done.
It wasn’t that long ago we were often talking about new road projects, these days though it’s all about maintaining, and in some cases saving, the roads and bridges that we have.
And there are some big local projects that will get the green light if the governor’s budget is passed.
Take a close look at the Birmingham Bridge and you can quickly see it needs work and a lot of it.
“It is safe; it is certainly safe,” Dan Cessna, of PennDOT, says. “But it’s at a level of deterioration that left unchecked… we certainly want to get repairs done soon.”
But the Birmingham Bridge will remain on the back burner this year unless the budget passes. Then, it could get the green light.
“We have at least five projects here in the district that are valued at upwards of $60 to $70 million dollars that we could get out right now if we had additional funding in the next couple of months,” Cessna said.
Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch says Gov. Corbett’s $2 billion plan is crucial to the preservation of our existing roads and bridges.
“We simply cannot continue to avoid this problem without implications to public safety,” Schoch said. “If we don’t address the problem, it simply gets more expensive.”
At the heart of Gov. Corbett’s plan is a lifting of the cap on the oil company franchise tax over the next five years. The secretary says there is no way to know how much of that we’ll pay at the pump.
“If it were fully passed on to consumers in Pennsylvania only… at today’s price, they would go up 26, 27 cents a gallon over five years,” said Schoch.
But the state gas tax would also be rolled back a couple cents over that period as well.
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