BRIDGES: Lack of new funding has Pa. placing weight restrictions on more bridges

State legislature could have acted before the summer recess, but will now deal with it in the fall

Bridges News Trib Live August 08, 2013
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Deteriorating bridges in Pennsylvania will not feel the weight of state’s funding woes. That’s because many of them will take on lighter loads.

 

The Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) plans on placing weight restrictions on 1,000 struggling spans in the coming months, including the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh. The move comes after state lawmakers failed to pass a transportation-spending bill. The Senate approved its measure, a $2.5 billion plan that would lift the cap on the tax wholesalers pay for gasoline and raise other fees, in June. The House offered a smaller version of the Senate measure, but could not move anything through.

 

“Our goal is to work through the process to have a bill introduced in the fall season,” Barbara McNees, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, told Trib Live.

 

Some politicians are wondering how the highway funding is being spent and believe PennDOT should do a better job prioritizing it’s structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges. PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch countered by saying state representatives and senators received information packets in May covering the possible outcome if the right funding package was not passed.

 

“We’ve done our best to reduce our costs,” he told Trib Live. “We can’t save our way out of this. Frankly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone. This has been building for decades.”

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