TRIP: Pennsylvania faces $3.5 billion transportation funding shortfall
Bridges and roads that are deficient, congested, or lack desirable safety features cost the average Pittsburgh motorist $892 each year, a total of $8.2 billion statewide, due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation research group.
Pennsylvania faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $3.5 billion to meet highway, bridge, and transit needs. An increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state, and federal level could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Pennsylvania, according to the TRIP report, “Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility.”
The study finds that 58 percent of major roads in Pittsburgh are in poor or mediocre
condition and nearly half of bridges in the area are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Twenty-six percent of major urban roads in the area are congested during peak times, and the average Pittsburgh driver loses 15 hours per year due to congestion. Traffic crashes in the Pittsburgh area claimed the lives of 75 people in 2008, giving the area a fatality rate of 6.17 fatalities per 100,000 population.
Deficient roads cost the average Pittsburgh driver $892 each year in the form of extra vehicle
operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to
congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes. The TRIP report calculated the cost to
motorists of insufficient roads in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas: Harrisburg, Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, and Scranton / Wilkes-Barre.
A breakdown of the costs in each city is below:
VOC Congestion Safety TOTAL
Harrisburg $293 $180 $399 $872
Philadelphia $522 $786 $166 $1,474
Pittsburgh $411 $300 $181 $892
Scranton- Wilkes Barre $478 $180 $342 $1,000
STATEWIDE $2.9 billion $2.3 billion $3 billion $8.2 billion
Nearly half of bridges and overpasses in Pittsburgh show significant deterioration or do
not meet current design standards. Twenty-three percent of Pittsburgh bridges are structurally
deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major
Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or are closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses, and emergency service vehicles.
An additional 23 percent of area bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances, or poor alignment with the approaching road.
The TRIP report includes a list of bridges in the Pittsburgh area with the lowest sufficiency rating, including the following:
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