PennDOT Reminds High School Students to Enter the ‘Innovations Challenge’ to Develop Solution to Ensure Adequate Transportation Funding for the Future
Harrisburg, PA – With the December 18 deadline rapidly approaching, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds students in grades 9-12 regardless of their school’s learning model to participate in the fourth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.
This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.
PennDOT is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and roughly 25,000 bridges, roughly equal to the state-maintained road systems of New York, New Jersey, and all the New England states combined. Much of the funding to maintain that system comes from liquid fuels taxes, which are becoming increasingly unsustainable, especially considering additional impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient and electric vehicles becoming more affordable, gasoline-based revenues can no longer generate the funds needed. Other options, including tolling and mileage-based user fees, are being explored. To meet the needs of its aging infrastructure, Pennsylvania needs to establish a funding stream that will inject an additional $5 billion per year into its transportation system.
“We appreciate the unique challenges faced by schools during the pandemic,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Our educators are to be commended for encouraging the creative thinking needed for the Innovations Challenge.”
Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete for the state championship. The submissions will be reviewed by regional PennDOT offices and up to five team finalists will be invited to present their solutions virtually to a team of judges from the appropriate PennDOT regional office depending on where their school district is located.
The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.
For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation. Again, the submission deadline is December 18, 2020.
For more information on PennDOT’s District 04, which includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties, visit PennDOT’s https://www.penndot.gov/RegionalOffices/district-4/Pages/ Follow District Twitter www.511PA.com
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael S. Taluto 570-963-3502
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Michael S. Taluto| Safety Press Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
District 4-0 Office
55 Keystone Industrial Park | Dunmore, Pa 18512
Office 570.963.3502 | Fax 570.614.2957
www.neparoads.com * www.511PA.com
PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions before heading out.