Last week, Chester County Officials, PennDOT and SEPTA transportation experts spoke at our Spring Breakfast at the Downingtown Country Club to give an official update on transportation infrastructure projects.
ACT 89, Pennsylvania’s Transportation Bill passed in October of 2013, added $4.2 Billion into our transportation infrastructure funding. ACT 89 directly injected $400 million of highway funds into the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). As a result, major highways, like US 202, Route 100, Route 252, were resurfaced and continue to be repaired.
Not only were speakers Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, SEPTA’s CFO Rich Burnfield, and PennDOT Engineers there to remind individuals of the work ACT 89 has accomplished, but they also spoke about what lies ahead for the next three years of the bill.
“24 bridges in Chester County on the four-year TIP are slated for rehabilitation or replacement.” Said Commissioner Kichline, “PennDOT (just recently) awarded a contract to rehabilitate three of Chester County’s covered bridges: Knox Bridge in Tredyffrin Township, Rapp’s Dam Bridge in East Pikeland Township, and Speakman’s Bridge in East Fallowfield Township.”
Commissioner Kichline also gave good news about the $300 million US 202 widening project, which is due for completion in 2016.
This was not the only good news from the breakfast, PennDOT District 6-0 Design Portfolio Manager, Timothy Stevenson, said a major project to go forward is the Green Light Go Program. The Green Light Go Program is Pennsylvania’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program, which provides state funds for the operation and maintenance of traffic signals along critical and designated corridors on state highways. “This will greatly increase the flow of traffic through heavily populated areas.” said Stevenson.
SEPTA will also be seeing major upgrades to their buses and trains thanks to the additional $900 million of transit funds provided for SEPTA’s four-year capital program. Not only are they improving service and regional rail stations, but according to Rich Burnfield, SEPTA’s CFO, they will be adding 45 regional rail cars to accommodate for increased ridership.
Even though projects are getting completed thanks to ACT 89, Executive Director, P. Timothy Phelps said there is still a lot to be done and a short-term transportation bill will not do it. “Pennsylvania, through Act 89, got a tremendous boost, but to achieve a safe and efficient transportation infrastructure we must focus on a long-term federal transportation funding plan. We need dedicated funding streams at a national level to fund the Highway Trust Fund.”
Phelps said the way to help move a long-term plan along is to contact your local legislators to have them know that you support transportation infrastructure.