PennDOT Issues Performance Report, Municipal Funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently issued its 2021 Transportation Performance Report or TPR as part of update process for its 12-year long-range mobility and freight movement plans.

[Above photo by PennDOT.]

Concurrently, the agency is disbursing $452.7 million in “liquid fuels payments” or monies gathered via motor fuel taxes to help certified municipalities maintain their roads and bridges.

Yassmin Gramian

Yassmin Gramian, PennDOT’s secretary and chair of State Transportation Commission, noted in a statement that issuing the 2021 TPR kicks off a 45-day public comment period to collect feedback on statewide multimodal transportation needs, issues, and concerns. The public has until April 14 to take and submit comments on the agency’s 12-year plan to PennDOT via a survey.

“The TPR highlights PennDOT’s progress across major aspects of our system including safety, mobility, preservation, accountability, and funding,” Gramian noted. “We will use this to help develop our next 12-year program, as well as inform our Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan and Freight Movement Plan.”

Meanwhile, she noted that the $452.7 million in liquid fuels payments PennDOT is distributing to certified municipalities is roughly 7 percent lower than 2020 due to reduced motor tax revenues result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by PennDOT

“Our reliance on funding models from the last century leaves us especially vulnerable to fund losses stemming from volatile economic conditions and the increasing transition to alternative-fuel or electric vehicles,” Gramian stressed in a related statement. “We have the fifth-largest state-maintained road system in the country, and there are even more locally owned roads and bridges.”

PennDOT said those annual distributions assist with local highway and bridge-related expenses such as snow removal and road repaving. There are 120,596 miles of public roads in Pennsylvania, the agency added, with 73,091 miles owned by municipalities that are eligible for liquid fuels payments.

However, as Pennsylvania’s mobility needs have grown, the amount of funding required to support its highway and bridge network continues increasing.

PennDOT said its current highway and bridge budget for construction and maintenance is about $6.9 billion per year – less than half of the $15 billion needed to keep Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges in a state of good repair and address major bottlenecks on the state’s roadway network.

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