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PennDOT releases draft plan to guide transportation improvements

The next major transportation plan is out and PennDOT wants the public to comment on it.

The Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan was released to the public this week, laying out how the agency plans to spend almost $29 billion in the next few years to build “a safe and reliable transportation network that connects Pennsylvanians to opportunities and services,” according to an agency press release.

The public can review the plan online and submit comments at TalkPATransportation.com, email their response to RA-PennDOTSTC@pa.gov, or call PennDOT at 717-783-2262. The agency will accept comments through July 3.

“Infrastructure that serves everyone requires input from everyone,” PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll said. “Planning for the future of transportation infrastructure is a complex process, and I encourage everyone to submit their comments and take part in this process.”

Most of the prioritized projects and spending (from local, state, federal, and private sources) are concentrated on highway/bridge and transit projects.

PennDOT expects to spend $4.4 billion on highway and bridge funding in 2025, dropping slightly to $4.2 billion, $4 billion, and $4.1 billion through 2028. Most of that money, $11.5 billion of $16.8 billion, comes from the federal government.

Money for transit will start high in 2025, at $3.2 billion, then slightly dropping annually to $2.9 billion in 2028. But most of those funds will come from state sources ($8.1 billion out of $12.1 billion).

The STIP also notes a long-standing PennDOT talking point: A lack of funding to cover basic upkeep.

“Pennsylvania has one of the largest Interstate Systems in the nation, with more than 2,743 miles of roadway and 2,216 bridge,” the STIP draft noted. “Based on asset condition it is estimated that the annual need on the Interstates is $1.2 billion to meet basic maintenance and preservation needs. Currently, PennDOT spends between $700-$750 million per year on the Interstate System.”

Federal spending has been boosted by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with Pennsylvania’s highway and bridge share expected to increase by $4 billion over five years, of which the Interstate program will get $70 million annually.

As spending goes up, though, so does the expectation of danger on the road.

“These projects are also anticipated to provide significant improvements to highway safety and traffic reliability for both passenger and freight travel,” the draft plan noted, but expects the number and rate of fatalities, serious injuries, and non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries to increase.

Pennsylvania is under a federal mandate to make a plan for how to increase safety for non-motorists (called “vulnerable road users”) due to fatalities being too high in the commonwealth.

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