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PennDOT Resumes Environmental Reviews for Bridge Replacement Projects

09/15/2022

Department continues to evaluate alternative funding options to phase out gas tax

 Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has resumed planning work and federal environmental reviews for six bridge replacement projects proposed as part of the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (MBP3).

The six projects moving forward through the federal environmental process in 2022 are:

These projects are moving forward through the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) with Categorical Exclusions (CE) or CE Reevaluations, since tolling is no longer part of the projects. The review process documents how each project would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources, environmental resources and more. Comment forms are available on each project's webpage.

The path forward for the three remaining MBP3 bridge projects — I-83 South Bridge, I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project, and the I-79 Widening, Bridges and Interchange Reconfiguration Project — continues to be evaluated.

PennDOT has entered into a Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) with Bridging Pennsylvania Partners (BPP) to advance preliminary design work. The PDA will lead to separate contracts to finalize design, build, finance, and maintain packages of bridges in the MBP3. PennDOT will repay the amounts financed by the development entity through recurring availability payments over 30 years, beginning when construction is complete.

In November 2020, the MBP3 was proposed by PennDOT and approved by the Pennsylvania P3 Board, which includes representatives from all four legislative caucuses, to rehabilitate or replace major Interstate bridges using toll revenues, providing PennDOT with a means of addressing the state's growing backlog of needs without using or impacting the funding for PennDOT's larger program. In February 2021, PennDOT announced nine candidate bridge projects for inclusion in the program.

In July 2022, the General Assembly amended the state's P3 law to remove tolling as a means of funding the MBP3. This means PennDOT will have to reallocate currently programmed state funds and federal funds now available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will result in the deferral or elimination of some projects in the 2023 12-Year Program (TYP). 

PennDOT continues to study and evaluate alternative forms of funding to support Pennsylvania's vast transportation network through its PennDOT Pathways program.

Additionally, last year Governor Tom Wolf established the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) to develop comprehensive recommendations to ultimately phase out Pennsylvania's gas tax, which has become an unreliable source of funding. TROC submitted a report of recommendations to Governor Wolf in July 2021, which included potential short- and long-term funding solutions. These recommendations currently await further action by the General Assembly.

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.pa.gov/news or choose a region under "Regional Offices." Information about the state's infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.pa.gov/results. Find PennDOT's planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Alexis Campbell, alecampbel@pa.gov, 717-783-8800

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