The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Letters

October 22, 2013

Pass road funding or risk greater costs?

Pennsylvania's road and bridge infrastructure finds itself at a critical intersection on the eve of what could be a historic vote by the state legislature to finally pass badly needed transportation funding. With road and bridge funding stagnating and labor, material, and construction costs rising, the major caretakers of the state's transportation network -- PennDOT and townships -- have reached the breaking point. They can no longer continue to fix and maintain the state's roads and bridges without an additional infusion of dollars.

It may cost all of us a couple more dollars per year, but it will cost even more to do nothing. And Harrisburg can no longer afford to put off this decision that is so vital to the state's economy and public safety. The moment of truth has arrived, and our General Assembly must step up to the plate to do what is right and necessary before our transportation network suffers even more.

Without additional funding, roads will continue to deteriorate, more bridges will be weight-restricted, time-consuming detours will delay emergency response and school buses, roadways will be more congested, commerce will be stifled, and Pennsylvanians will be less safe in trying to get from Point A to Point B. This all translates into a noticeable decrease in our quality of life.

On the other hand, additional funding will enable the caretakers of our roads and bridges to address long overdue maintenance needs and safety issues. It will also create thousands of Pennsylvanian construction jobs.

Pennsylvania's roads and bridges are crumbling, and citizens are paying the price -- both literally and figuratively.

Literally, because a lack of adequate funding for road maintenance and repairs means taxpayers either live with the deteriorating infrastructure or they must fight for stable funding. The proposed creative solution before the legislature now puts the bulk of the burden on the prosperous oil companies by lifting the artificial cap on the oil franchise tax. Inaction by the legislature, however, will likely result in increased local property taxes.

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