Joseph P. McAtee, PE, Executive VP and COO of Urban Engineers, recently testified to the Democratic Policy Committee of the PA House of Representatives regarding the challenges in repairing and replacing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s ailing transit system.
The hearing was requested and co-chaired by state Representative Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks County, and centered on considering the needed improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure, as well as potential solutions for the looming funding crisis.
The Commonwealth leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges, with over 5,500, including several in southeastern Pennsylvania. A recent State Transportation Advisory Committee funding study identified more than $3.5 billion in annual unmet needs that will only grow over time.
“Without the proper funding to reach a state of good repair, this will result in continued job losses for both engineering firms and contractors, more bridges posted with load restrictions, more potholes not being fixed, more road closures and the related detours, and safety improvements that will have to be deferred,” said McAtee in his testimony.
“This Commonwealth has some of the best transportation professionals in the world…we all want to build and maintain our transportation facilities so that they become ‘world class.’ However, without funding, it appears that we all have our hands tied behind our backs – and we are being asked to swim. Please untie our hands and work to provide us the funding that is needed for our transportation infrastructure,” McAtee concluded.
Others providing testimony were: Jeff Knueppel, Chief Engineer Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; Bill Rickett, Executive Director, TMA Bucks; Frank Bankard, Business Representative, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542; George Wolff, Region Leader, Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition.