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How Did We Get Here?
Despite rising traffic and freight travel in our state, the funds available to maintain our highways and bridges have not kept pace due to shrinking gas tax and federal revenues. Our investment needs are outgrowing our current funding, and this gap gets worse every year. That's why we're launching a new program — PennDOT Pathways. Through this program, we'll analyze new future-focused sources of funding for our highways and bridges that could better serve our communities and all Pennsylvanians for the next generation.
Today, we have an annual highway and bridge funding gap of $8.1 billion.
How Does Our Highway and Bridge System Compare to Other States?
Pennsylvania has the fifth-largest state-maintained road system and the third-largest state-maintained system of bridges in the nation. The commonwealth's system is far larger than any of our surrounding states and, in fact, is comparable in size to the state-maintained road systems of New York, New Jersey, and all of the New England states combined.
Over 40,000 miles of highways
Over 25,000 bridges to maintain
Where Do We Get Our Funding From?
Highway and bridge funding in Pennsylvania comes from both federal and state sources, primarily gas taxes and driver and vehicle fees. The largest sources of our funding are the gas taxes (both state and federal), which make up 74% of our highway and bridge funding! These funds are generated every time a driver in Pennsylvania refills their car's gas tank.
Click on the different percentage icons on the chart below to learn about each funding source:
Our Funding is At Risk
The good news is...
people are using less gas. Fuel efficiency is great for the environment and our pockets.
The bad news is...
people are using less gas, which means we are collecting less gas tax revenue.
But that isn't the only risk. In 2019, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) produced a report that identified six major risks to our funding. The largest two, at the time, were federal funding and the gas tax, but now, COVID-19 has presented a new challenge that has changed the way people use our system.
What Have We Done So Far?
We've worked hard to make the most of our available funding and have found some ways to secure additional funding. For example, with the help of Act 44 and Act 89, we were able to generate revenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike and gas taxes, allowing us to complete 3,498 projects worth $9.05 billion since 2013. We have another 575 projects underway that total $5.2 billion, in addition to our 12-year program that identified another 989 projects totaling $10.5 billion planned for work over the next four years. Unfortunately, this hasn't been enough to meet our state's growing needs. Find information on current and planned projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.
What Are The Next Steps?
The PennDOT Pathways program launched in November 2020 and the first online engagement period for the program ended on December 17, 2020. The PennDOT Pathways program team is now evaluating all comments submitted during this 30-day comment period. In early February 2021, the second online engagement and comment period for the program will begin. At that time, the project team will share updates about program progress and the findings from initial PEL study.