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09/27/2021 09:35 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=34461
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 29, 2021 10:27 AM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Comprehensive LBFC study of PennDOT’s highway maintenance funding
 
As you know, reliable and sustainable transportation funding remains an important issue in the Commonwealth. Critical for our residents and essential for commerce, elected officials must continue working towards adequate and fair funding for our interconnected transportation needs.  Currently, one aspect of this is receiving attention as the Department of Transportation and the P3 Board are advocating user fees or tolls as revenue for bridge construction and maintenance.  While we engage on this policy debate, a different existing revenue vehicle warrants further analysis.    

Act 89 of 2013 is providing billions of dollars for state road and bridge construction contracts, public transportation capital projects, local road and bridge assistance, certain Turnpike expansion projects, multi-modal capital projects, and dirt/gravel/low-volume roads. These investments are critical to highway safety, mobility, and economic development.

Also critical to the safety of our motoring public is highway maintenance provided by PennDOT. Chapter 91 of Title 75 provides for State Highway Maintenance and the necessary formula for funding distribution for PennDOT’s County Maintenance Offices (CMO). Created in 1980, the formula was last updated in 1997. The Legislative Budget & Finance Committee (LBFC) conducted a Performance Audit of PennDOT in 2002, a portion of which assessed the 1997 changes. At the time, LBFC found the “new formula resulted in a fairer allocation of maintenance monies.”

A contemporary review comparing the conditions from 1997 to present and the foreseeable future is both appropriate and vital as a valuable tool to assess our State Highway Maintenance funding program.

The study should consist of the following:
  • A review of the funding formula including each CMO’s “maintenance needs” versus “maintenance allocation.”
  • An analysis of this data to determine what CMO’s may have been overfunded or underfunded.
  • PennDOT’s Lane Miles (LM) and bridges in each CMO including the number and percentage that are three and four-digit highways.
  • Vehicle Miles (VM) travelled in each CMO and, if possible, percentage that is from residents versus out-of-state vehicles (pass thru traffic, tourists, etc.).
  • A comparison among the 11 PennDOT Districts on the effects of winter maintenance including freeze/thaw cycles, snowfall averages, etc.
  • State emergency funding totals by CMO for acts of nature including flooding, landslides, etc.
  • The percentage of State Highway Maintenance funding that goes towards major expenditures, including personnel salary/benefit costs in each CMO.
  • County populations from 1997 to present and the foreseeable future.
  • A review of PennDOT’s “Road MaP” program (maintenance and preservation) created in 2016 including projects completed and selection criteria for these projects, and future fiscal stability of the program.
 
Last Session, Senate Resolution 106 was cosponsored by Senators Argall, Bartolotta, Browne, Martin, Mensch, Vogel, J. Ward, K. Ward and Yudichak.
 
If the General Assembly considers transportation funding needs moving forward, having an accurate account of this existing program is important and I encourage you to join in co-sponsoring the study.



Introduced as SR53