More funding for transportation will mean more jobs for Pennsylvanians.
It'll mean safer bridges and roadways.
And, state Sen. David G. Argall told a room full of people in Spring Township Wednesday, "Specifically, it will mean 26 bridge improvements, 106 road projects and six safety improvements in the communities I'm privileged to represent."
Argall, a Schuylkill County Republican who covers a portion of Berks County, spoke at Great Valley Consultants during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry-organized discussion on the local impact of the new transportation funding package.
"Last year, the Federal Highway administration found that Pennsylvania leads the nation with over 24 percent of our bridges deemed structurally deficient," Argall told a crowd of elected officials and Chamber officials.
"Transportation experts here today agree: We either had to figure out a way to fix our roads or bridges, or watch them fall apart," Argall said.
Last month, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the law that will pump billions of dollars a year into improvements to highways, bridges and mass-transit systems.
To finance the plan, increases in gas taxes and motorist fees will be phased in over five years, generating at least $2.3 billion a year —? an increase of about 40 percent from the $5.3 billion that PennDOT is scheduled to spend this year on highways, bridges and public transit.
"Annually, this is expected to create 62,000 jobs," PennDOT District 5 Executive Michael Rebert said Wednesday. "There are so many projects that are going to happen this year and the next, moving forward."
In Berks County alone over the next decade, Rebert noted, the increased funding will pay for the much-discussed widening of Route 222 between Reading and Allentown, as well as the reconstruction of both the West Shore and Warren Street bypasses.
"We all go over the roads and bridges, and we just take it for granted that everything is OK," said state Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat who voted for the transportation plan. "It's the right thing. I was proud to be a part of it."
Contact Becca Y. Gregg: 610-371-5032 or email@example.com.
Copyright 2013 - Reading Eagle, Pa.