After many months, PennDOT has finalized its PennDOT Pathways Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study after receiving concurrence from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A PEL Study is a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers several factors, including the environment, community, and economic goals.
PennDOT conducted the study to identify possible near-term and long-term solutions to the funding gap our transportation system faces. The PEL Study evaluated the feasibility of various funding options for near- and long-term implementation and established a methodology for evaluating environmental justice effects associated with each.
The study will serve as a guide as PennDOT pursues and implements alternative funding strategies to help support our entire transportation system. The most near-term funding needs are in PennDOT's highway and bridge programs, but there are significant needs across all transportation modes. The findings of the PEL Study will help guide the implementation of future funding strategies and can be modified as needs evolve.
The PEL Study is designed to bridge the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the planning process for a project or initiative. FHWA provided its concurrence with the study's findings, which is an important step to advancing the alternative funding initiatives.
A draft of the PennDOT Pathways PEL Study was made available for public review and comment in Spring 2021. PennDOT received 342 comments during the public comment period, which lasted from April 29 – June 1, 2021. These comments are captured in Appendix D of the final PEL Study and will be used to inform decisions moving forward.
The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), which was established by Governor Tom Wolf's Executive Order on March 12, 2021, received a briefing on the draft PEL Study. The draft PEL Study was also used as a resource for the Commission's report on potential options that will reduce Pennsylvania's reliance on state and federal gas taxes to fund transportation, presented to Governor Wolf on July 30, 2021.
For additional information on transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.