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State Leaders Search For Ways To Fund Fixes To Pennsylvania's Aging And Crumbling Infrastructure

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - After a report came out saying Pennsylvania's roads and bridges rank towards the bottom of the country, we got some answers. A nationwide study found the state has some of the worst highways and bridges in the country.

PennDOT said highway funding continues to be a problem and state leaders are looking to address it.

"Our current model for funding our transportation and infrastructure projects is unsustainable and overly burdensome to consumers," 35th District Representative Austin Davis said.

Rep. Davis, who represents parts of the Mon Valley, said Act 89 has funded projects through the gas tax and is nearly done.

He said the governor has created a commission to reduce the reliance on the gas tax. It's expected to come back with ideas by the end of the summer. One of them being tossed around now is tolls.

"Fixing our roads and aging infrastructure is a massive priority -- not just for getting people to where they need to go, but for the economic growth and development in this state," Rep. Davis said over Zoom.

PennDOT is aware of Pennsylvania ranking towards the bottom of the country in the age and condition of its highways and bridges. It said it's improved more than 34,000 miles of roads since 2015. Almost 1,400 projects are underway or going to bid this year. PennDOT said it has lost $500 million in highway and bridge revenue since last March.

"Coming out of the pandemic, transportation investment will boost and create jobs and help our economy rebound quicker," Rep. Davis said.

Lawmakers passed a state budget that calls for $280 million for transportation. Rep. Davis said for the state economy to succeed, transportation needs to need users' demands.

"All those things are critical to creating a strong economy," Rep. Davis said.

Both PennDOT and state representatives are closely watching the federal infrastructure bill and hoping it can meet their needs.

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