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PennDOT Pathways: Addressing the Funding Gap

PennDOT Pathways

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Addressing the Funding Gap

What Do We Do Now?

It's time to find new funding solutions that allow us to continue to create the best transportation system for our communities.

That's where PennDOT Pathways comes in. Through this program, we're launching an extensive initiative to examine possible near- and long-term funding solutions — and how they could potentially work in Pennsylvania. With an eye to the future, we must focus on near-term solutions to be put into action in the next couple of years.

As a part of this program, we're embarking on a Planning and Environmental Linkages, or PEL, study. In this PEL Study we're looking at potential funding solutions, and identifying which ones could be used in the near- and long-term to help build stable and dedicated transportation funding for Pennsylvania. Once we identify the potential funding strategies that best fit our system, we'll develop a plan for putting them into action and start to fill in the funding gap for our highways and bridges!


Adequate Highway and Bridge Funding Means...

Improved Highways and Bridges

Today, Pennsylvania ranks second in our country in terms of the number of bridges in poor condition. Our current funding model simply doesn't allow for the improvements we truly need. Safety is our first priority, and so funds have had to be diverted from local and regional roadway expansion projects to instead maintain what we have in a safe condition.

Less Wasted Gas

So many of our highways and bridges are in need of repair, and rougher pavement results in more spending by commuters on vehicle maintenance and fuel. This can result in additional costs of up to $548 per commuter each year.

Additionally, without investing in added capacity on congested roadways, commuters will continue to waste fuel sitting in traffic. In some PA cities, this can cost up to $65 per commuter each year.

Less Traffic Congestion

In addition to wasted gas, sitting in traffic means commuters are also losing valuable time that could be spent on other activities. In some PA cities, congestion can result in up to 62 hours of lost time per commuter each year.

No one likes sitting in traffic, but did you know traffic congestion can have sizable economic impacts on the entire state? When truck traffic moves efficiently, goods and services get to market faster and more cheaply. Currently, Pennsylvania has five of the top 100 "truck bottlenecks" in the United States. In Philadelphia alone, congestion costs truck drivers up to 8.18 million hours per year!

More Predictable Driving Times

Keeping highways and bridges in good condition can help reduce lane closures. With more highway and bridge funding, the fewer last-minute and unpredictable closures will benefit everyone.

Improved Air Quality

When our bridges and highways are in good condition, it means fewer detours and out-of-the-way driving routes. When we drive shorter distances, our air quality benefits as well.


What Are Some of the Potential Funding Options We'll Be Exploring?

Spot Tolling

Spot tolling collects fees from drivers passing through a specific location, typically at a bridge or tunnel. We have spot tolls on a number of bridges in Pennsylvania for example the Walt Whitman, Scudders Falls, and Commodore Barry bridges across the Delaware River.

Managed Lanes

Managed Lanes involves additional lanes on a highway where the traffic is managed for faster travel. With managed lanes, traffic can be regulated by charging a toll, or by encouraging carpooling. It offers a choice to drivers — to pay a fee, carpool, or use the regular lanes.

Congestion Pricing

Congestion pricing is another form of tolling where users are charged based on the congestion on the roadway — encouraging users to carpool or use alternative routes when traffic gets too heavy — creating a reliable speed and trip.

Corridor Tolling

Corridor tolling is similar to what we currently have on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Corridor tolling means tolling interstates and expressways based on the distance traveled along that road.

Road User Charges

These charges are a little different from tolls in that they are generally tied to GPS technologies to calculate the number of miles you drive. Essentially, drivers would be charged a small fee for each mile they drive during the year.

Fee & Tax Increases

This would include increasing vehicle-related fees and/or increasing various taxes, with the exception of the gas tax.

 

Some of these potential funding strategies might work better in certain scenarios and locations than others. It's important that as we study funding options, we consider how different strategies could work together as both near- and long-term solutions.