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July 20, 2020 12:45 PM, EDT

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Unveils 27 Multimodal Projects

Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge over Lehigh RiverThe Pennsylvania Turnpike goes over the Lehigh River in the Poconos region of the state. (Alex Potemkin/Getty Images)

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced $30.2 million in funding will be dedicated to multimodal projects that are meant to improve safety and mobility.

Wolf on July 16 announced the 27 projects, which represent efforts related to highways, bridges, transit, cycling and pedestrian accessibility in 23 counties. Financing was made possible through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, which was enacted in 2013.

“Transportation is critical to connecting communities and economies, and we are an important partner in bringing progress across the state,” Wolf said. “These investments will improve overall mobility and safety while bolstering commercial projects.”

Tom Wolf, governor of Pennsylvania

Wolf

Many of the grants are designed to help local government agencies address bridges and roads that are in need of repair or replacement. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 15.3% of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient.

Penn Hills, a municipality just east of Pittsburgh, received $2.5 million to improve segments of 31 streets. Improvements include repaving and sidewalk reconstruction to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Scranton, $1.1 million will be used to replace the Ash Street Bridge, located on the eastern side of the city.

Some $1.8 million was awarded to Aston, a town in the southeastern part of the state, to assist with converting two intersections on a heavily traveled corridor into roundabouts. More than $4.6 million was awarded to Philadelphia County for projects including safety improvements along Market Street near the Liberty Bell and trail construction for the Bridesburg Riverfront Park.

Other major awards include $1.7 million for improvements such as repaving streets and replacing damaged sidewalks in Farrell, a city in western Pennsylvania, and $1.9 million to correct a dangerous curve on a street in Pittson, a city 12 miles southwest of Scranton.

PennDOT officials assessed the projects on factors such as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical feasibility, job creation and energy efficiency. Infrastructure and economic development are important to Pennsylvania; according to the governor’s office, nearly $500 billion in goods and services moves through the state every year.

Yassmin Gramian

Gramian

“Whether we’re making roadways more accessible to all modes of travel or creating new connections for businesses investing in our communities, transportation is integral to our quality of life,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “These projects will bring long-lasting improvements across the state.”

Pennsylvania also is important for freight movement, and trucking activity is expected to grow in the coming years. According to PennDOT’s Comprehensive Freight Movement Plan, the state’s infrastructure network carries 1.1 billion tons of freight, a figure that is expected to increase to 1.9 billion by 2040.

The next round of Multimodal Transportation Fund grant applications will open in September. Municipalities, councils of governments, economic development groups, ports, businesses and public transportation agencies are eligible to apply. Grants are available for projects that cost at least $100,000. No grant will exceed $3 million for any project.

In November, Wolf announced that 141 new projects had been approved through the fund. The projects represented 42 counties and $79.3 million in funding.

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