PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Billed the Pennsylvania Road Show, House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, of Hollidaysburg, led members of Congress and transportation secretaries from around the country through Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning.
“Our idea is to tour the state and look at infrastructures like this that are in desperate need of repair,” said Shuster.READ MORE: 4 White Men Accused Of Assaulting Black Man In Mercer County
The focus here was the Greenfield Bridge over the Parkway East.
“To build a bridge under a bridge to catch a bridge that is falling — I don’t think you have to be an economics major or engineer to know that isn’t the best investment we could make,” observed Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald.
The Greenfield Bridge will be demolished this fall and then replaced if the feds come through with dollars.
“This is a $19 million bridge replacement project, and it is 80 percent federal funded,” said Pa. Secretary of Transportation (Designate) Leslie Richards. “Without federal funding, this project will not move forward.”
So far, Congress has been gridlocked on a federal transportation funding bill that expired last October.
Pennsylvania is not alone in hurting from federal inaction.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Looking For Missing 76-Year-Old James Miles
“Over 40 percent of the budget in the state of Texas comes from the federal government with respect to transportation,” said Joe Weber, Texas Secretary of Transportation.
“Without that partnership, we will never be able to get ahead,” added Janet Oakley, South Carolina’s Secretary of Transportation.
“When we apply federal money, when we apply state money, what we’ve seen is a 270 percent increase in the projects we can do,” noted Tony Tata, Secretary of Transportation for North Carolina.
State transportation officials said states have done their part like Pennsylvania did raising gasoline taxes to fund repairs.
“But the federal government needs to step up,” noted Gary Ridley, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Transportation. “They have an obligation and a responsibility to insure that we have a national system of highways that is as strong as we had when President Eisenhower signed the [first interstate highway] bill in 1956.”
Shuster said a compromise was close with federal funding coming from a repatriation tax on profits that multinational companies kept overseas.
“I believe we will get it done this year,” said Shuster.MORE NEWS: Man Facing Arson Charges In Massive Fire That Destroyed Historic South Side Building