TMA Bucks, Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Pennridge Chamber of Commerce and the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to see the transportation funding bill that will provide improvements to Pennsylvania’s highways, bridges and mass transit was signed into law as the impact on Bucks County will be a positive and significant one.
This bill will increase transportation funding over a five year time period and by the fifth year the total funding will be $2.4 billion. The money will be distributed to highway and bridge maintenance (75 percent), mass transit (21 percent) and new multimodal fund (4 percent) which will provide additional funding for rail/freight, passenger rail, ports, waterways, and aviation as well as bicycle/pedestrian facilities.
“A lot of hard work and effort by many people made this possible and the end result will simply be a better and safer Bucks County,” said TMA Bucks executive director Bill Brady. “Several major highway and road improvement projects that were in jeopardy of not happening can now be funded along with key SEPTA projects which ultimately leads to greater economic development and will provide safe means of transit for our residents and businesses inBucks County.”
As many as 19 highway and road projects in Bucks County could have been jeopardized if the new funding was not passed. Bucks County also has 217 bridges that are structurally deficient and in major need of repairs.
While all of Bucks County will benefit from safer and more efficient roads, funding transportation investments is particularly important to the Bucks County business community as the economy continues to recover.
“The chamber supports this effort as it recognizes the importance of maintaining our infrastructure as a means to support economic growth and provide safe and efficient transportation for the business community,” said Dan Bates, president of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, which announced this summer it supports the leadership of Senator Rafferty in his advocacy of transportation funding and his sponsorship of Senate Bill 1.
Other transportation issues addressed in the funding bill that will impact Bucks County are funds that will be provided for municipal police education, grants will be allowed to municipalities for traffic signal upgrades and bridge work can be bundled by state, county and local governments.
“The business community in upper Bucks County needs a reliable highway network to thrive,” said Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce executive director Tara King. “Improvements and maintenance on area roads like Route 309 and 412 will keep goods and services flowing in upper Bucks and reduce the need for business-killing detours which, in this area, are often a very long distance.”
“Lawn Avenue is a critical roadway in the Pennridge region that provides access to our hospital, Route 309 and many area businesses,” explained Pennridge Chamber of Commerce board president Dave Nyman. “A road closure here would be disastrous for so many reasons and is not an option for the community. Funding for its maintenance will, at some point, result in quicker access to medical care that may mean the difference between life and death.”
With the transportation funding issue resolved, SEPTA does not have to implement its doomsday plan that would have affected three commuter rail lines (Warminster, Doylestown/Lansdale and West Trenton). The end result would have been a total of 4,000 additional vehicles on Bucks County roads each day (8,000 rides by actual count of boards and leaves). The new funding will also enable SEPTA to advance funding for several projects that impact Bucks County.