Public officials encourage funding for roadways

Voicing their concern: Ed Rendell (right) joined U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (center) at a news conference at Roosevelt Boulevard and Whitaker Avenue on Oct. 12. SOURCE: REP. BRENDAN BOYLE’S OFFICE

Former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell joined U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle at a Roosevelt Boulevard intersection on Oct. 12 to issue a public demand for Congress’ renewal of federal funding for the nation’s road, bridges and transit systems.

The chairwoman of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Pennsylvania Infrastructure Report Card, Ann Tomalavage, and state Rep. Kevin Boyle also took part in the news conference on the southeast corner of the Boulevard and Whitaker Avenue, during which the current and former public officials drew attention to the state’s deteriorating transportation facilities.

The federal Highway Trust Fund will expire on Oct. 29 if Congress doesn’t act to renew it. Since 2009, Congress has voted 34 times to extend the fund for the short term, including twice in the last five months, but it has not offered a long-term transportation funding solution, according to Brendan Boyle.

“It is mind-blowing that we are once again talking about a short-term patch for financing the Highway Trust Fund,” he said. “The roads and bridges we commute on, on a daily basis, are crumbling. It is time to invest in American infrastructure and create good-paying construction jobs for hardworking Americans in Pennsylvania. This is a matter of safety, efficiency and economic growth.”

In Pennsylvania, 57 percent of roads are considered in mediocre or poor condition. Meanwhile, 42 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient. Last year, the ASCE graded Pennsylvania’s roads a “D-minus,” its bridges a “D-plus” and its transit a “D,” according to Tomalavage. ••