Casey tries to tilt funds to local bridges
Sen. Bob Casey said on Thursday that he will introduce a bill to force states to allocate a larger portion of their federal highway dollars to bridges owned by counties and municipalities.
Under Casey's plan, Pennsylvania and other states would have to set aside 25 percent of federal transportation funds for bridges in that category. A Casey-backed amendment approved for fiscal year 2013 forces the state to allocate 15 percent, or about $74 million, to county and municipal bridges.
“We've got a major problem with infrastructure across the country. Pennsylvania is ranked No. 1 in the number of structurally deficient bridges,” Casey said.
PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar said the agency appreciates Casey's attention to transportation funding.
“At first read, (the bill) forces us to put a larger portion of our federal money into locally owned bridges,” Chizmar said. “Unfortunately, it appears there's no additional revenue generated through this.”
Casey said small communities and counties are particularly strapped for cash and can't afford to fix many of their aging bridges. He acknowledged that many bridges on the interstate system need to be fixed but said the problem with locally owned bridges “cries out for more focus and more dollars targeted there.”
“I just think it's been neglected for too long,” Casey said.
He wouldn't criticize PennDOT's prioritization of repairs, saying only that government at the state and local levels lacks funding.
Allegheny County has the second-highest number of locally owned bridges in the state – 343 – following only Lancaster County, which has 415, according to Casey's data. There are more than 1,200 bridges in Allegheny County, and nearly 25 percent are structurally deficient.
Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, said he would review the proposal before commenting.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh City Council advances $1M study of buildings
- Friends, family gather to remember 11-year-old shot dead in Mt. Oliver
- Pittsburgh attorney cites Pa. AG’s suspension in dismissal attempt
- Newsmaker: Melody Mendoza
- Bill aims to revamp water, sewer board in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh region’s philanthropic sector at top of nation’s pack
- Council votes to ban tobacco use in Pittsburgh parks
- ‘Ambitious goal’ set for reducing HIV infections in Allegheny County
- Allegheny County park facility reservations going online
- Century Inn owner hopes to reopen Washington County landmark, gutted by fire, by end of next year
- Merged United Way to reveal 5-year plan aimed at Western Pa. children