A report card issued in June by the Central Pennsylvania section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges low marks.
The report, which is a year-long assessment, evaluated Pennsylvania’s transportation system as well as other major statewide infrastructure.
ASCE awarded the Commonwealth’s road network the lowest grade – a D-minus – for 44 percent of the state’s roads being in fair or poor condition.
According to the report, without new investment, the state’s motorists would continue to waste an average of 182 hours and 86 gallons of fuel in traffic congestion. The report estimates the cost to drivers in lost time and wasted fuel amounts to $3.7 billion per year.
Pennsylvania’s bridges didn’t fare much better, earning a grade in the report of D-plus.
Of the state’s 22,000 bridges, 23 percent are rated structurally-deficient – the worst percentage in the nation.
Bridge closures and weight limitations have forced lengthy, time consuming and costly detours for both travelers and commercial traffic.
Last fall, the state legislature passed and Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Act 89, which increases transportation investment by $2.3 billion annually.
State roads and bridges alone will see an additional $600 million in 2014, with an additional $1.3 billion by year five of the law. Local roads and bridges will received an added investment of $37 million in 2014, and $237 million by year five. The state plans more than 700 state and local bridge projects this year and will lift weight restrictions for more than 100.
AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs Theresa Podguski agreed with the report card’s accuracy.
“Deficient road conditions are a factor in the majority of fatal traffic accidents, and safety was a primary reason that AAA strongly supported additional transportation funding investment,” Podguski said. “We anticipate a better report card next year.”