Employees of the Allentown, Pa., streets department work under a street near Jordan Park in Allentown, Pa., Friday, May 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Virus Outbreak Relief Left Out
Employees of the Allentown, Pa., streets department work under a street near Jordan Park in Allentown, Pa., Friday, May 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Although not included in the final bill, 77 projects identified by Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation in an earlier version of the legislation could potentially receive funding from the billions earmarked for transportation upgrades in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Pennsylvania has about 40,000 miles of roadways and 25,400 bridges, making it the fifth largest highway system in the nation.

Of those, more than 7,540 miles (18.8%) of highway and 3,353 bridges (13.2%) are in poor condition. Deficient roadway conditions cost the average PA driver over $500 in operating and maintenance costs annually.

An historic investment in the nation’s aging infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could mean drivers across the state could be dodging fewer potholes in the near future.

Signed into law by President Joe Biden recently, the legislation provides $110 billion for roads, bridges, broadband, public transportation, safe drinking water, and much more across the US.  

Under the formulas contained in the bill, Pennsylvania will get $17.8 billion of the total, or roughly $1,400 for each resident of the state. With the ability to apply for additional funds, as well, Pennsylvania could benefit up to $50 billion in total.

“Our Pennsylvania infrastructure is crying out for this type of investment,” Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) said during a recent news conference.

Here’s what Pennsylvania is getting:

  • $11.3 billion to repair roads
  • $1.6 billion to repair and replace bridges
  • $2.8 billion for public transportation
  • $100 million to expand broadband
  • $1.4 billion for safe drinking water
  • $355 million to improve airports
  • $171 million for a network of electric vehicle charging stations
  • $244 million for weatherization to reduce energy costs

“I’m reminded on a daily basis when I brave Route 222 how badly we need this infrastructure investment,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) said during a news conference last week. “We are working toward common sense solutions to address the crumbling infrastructure here in the commonwealth.” 

PennDOT has thousands of potential road and bridge projects listed in its Transportation Improvement Program. The question now is which ones will get funding from the infrastructure bill?

What Infrastructure Projects Could Get Funding?

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state’s roads and bridges a D+ in its 2018 Pennsylvania Infrastructure Report Card

The passage of the infrastructure bill comes as the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) struggles to find additional funding for road projects due to a decrease in revenue collected from the state gas tax and diversion of those revenues. In 2019, former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the state had diverted $4.25 billion in gas tax revenue to the state police since the 2012-13 fiscal year, money that PennDOT could otherwise have used to address a growing list of needed repairs across the state. 

The state spends $6.9 billion a year on transportation improvement projects when it should be spending $15 billion, PennDOT officials said.

“This investment will allow Pennsylvania to invest billions of dollars to modernize our infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, and rail, while creating sustainable, good-paying jobs that will be transformative of our transportation system and our local economy,” PennDOT spokesperson Alexis Campbell said in a statement. “These critical investments — along with state-level solutions — will help close Pennsylvania’s growing transportation funding gap, and connect Pennsylvanians to opportunity and each other, and move us forward.”

Virus Outbreak Relief Left Out
Employees of the Allentown, Pa., streets department patch a hole near Jordan Park in Allentown, Pa., Friday, May 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Campbell said department officials haven’t identified specific projects that they plan to fund with the money from the infrastructure bill. They want the money to impact the greatest number of people, she said. PennDOT officials have decided not to use the federal money to fix nine interstate bridges that need to be replaced.

“There are projects across the state that we could advance or accelerate with this new funding or spend it to replace nine interstate bridges and it’s pretty clear where the benefit to more Pennsylvanians lies,” Campbell said.

10 Infrastructure Projects Included in an Early Draft of the Infrastructure Bill

In June, the House approved over $1 billion in active transportation projects as part of the INVEST in America Act. Almost $285 million was earmarked for Pennsylvania to complete 77 projects submitted by members of Congress and deemed as sorely needed infrastructure repairs. The Senate revised the bill and removed the designated projects, then sent the new version back to the House for approval. The list of Member Designated Projects was not included in the final infrastructure bill.

The following are the top 10 most expensive member designated projects that were supposed to be funded through the INVEST act but were left out of the final infrastructure bill. These infrastructure projects could potentially receive some of the millions headed to the state for upgrades and repairs:

Bridgeport Viaduct, Montgomery County

  • Cost: $17.5 million
  • Repairs to critical steel and concrete compounds on bridge
  • Representative: Madeleine Dean (D)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill?: Yes

PA Route 61, Schuylkill County

  • Cost: $15.2 million
  • Total reconstruction and widening of the road, installation of new retaining walls, and rehab of eight culverts
  • Representative: Dan Meuser (R)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? No

PA Route 228, Butler County

  • Cost: $11.9 million
  • New through lanes, turn lanes and side road improvements at the Three Degree Road intersection
  • Representative: Mike Kelly (R)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? No

Marcus Hook Regional Rail Station, Delaware County

  • Cost: $11.25 million
  • Construction of new high-level platforms with ADA-compliant passenger ramps
  • Representative: Mary Gay Scanlon (D)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? Yes

Cementon Bridge, Lehigh and Northampton counties

  • Cost: $10 million
  • Rehab/replacement of bridge carrying Route 329 over the Lehigh River
  • Representative: Susan Wild (D)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? Yes

I-70/PA Route 51, Westmoreland County

  • Cost: $10 million
  • Interchange reconstruction from current cloverleaf to a diverging diamond interchange design
  • Representative: Guy Reschenthaler (R)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? No

Carnegie Station, Allegheny County

  • Cost: $10 million
  • Replace current parking surface lot with a parking garage 
  • Representative: Connor Lamb (D)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill: Yes

PA Route 68, Butler County

  • Cost: $8.3 million
  • Corridor widening and intersection upgrades
  • Representative: Mike Kelly (R)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? No

Waynesburg Downtown Betterment Project, Greene County

  • Cost: $8 million
  • Concrete intersections, signal upgrades, and utility relocations
  • Representative: Guy Reschenthaler (R)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? No

 Malvern Station, Chester County

  • Cost: $7.63 million
  • Install high level platforms
  • Representative: Chrissy Houlahan (D)
  • Voted for infrastructure bill? Yes

Click here to see more of the member-designated projects.