Tri-County Area to Benefit from Infrastructure Funds

HARRISBURG PA – Bridge repair, rehabilitation, and replacement projects across Montgomery, Berks, and Chester counties are likely to benefit, state and federal officials said Friday (Jan. 14, 2022), from about $1.6 billion in funding being made available to Pennsylvania during the next five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act proposed by President Biden and passed by Congress.

Exactly what bridge efforts will receive money, where, and when are decisions yet to be determined. Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation maintains a list of more than 300 Transportation Improvement Program projects it wants to tackle, valued at more than $3 billion. Some have already been prioritized.

A Friday press conference focused on launching the infrastructure infusion, and featured Gov. Tom Wolf (at top right) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (at top left). “Modernizing America’s bridges will help improve safety, support economic growth, and make people’s lives better in every part of the country,” Buttigieg said. Wolf called it “a historic investment for Pennsylvania, and for our nation.”

The program reportedly represents the largest investment ever made in fixing bridges, of which $26.5 billion is dedicated to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During fiscal 2022 about $5.3 billion of that amount is expected to be available, and of that Pennsylvania is due to receive more than $327 million, according to 6th Congressional District Rep. Chrissy Houlahan.

It includes an incentive for states to direct funds to off-system bridges owned by counties, cities, states, towns, or other local agencies.

Houlahan, whose district includes all of Chester and part of Berks county, reported the 2020 National Bridge Inventory lists 3,353 Pennsylvania bridges in poor condition. “To say we will benefit from the newly announced … funding is an understatement,” she said.

“Especially after the flooding and destruction we experienced as a result of Hurricane Ida,” Houlahan added, municipalities are “ready to rebuild.”

Photo provided by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office