PennDOT announces next steps for Major Bridge P3 Initiative

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced the bridges being considered for the Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative. The I-83 South Bridge Project in Dauphin County is among other county bridge projects being considered.

“To advance this funding alternative, PennDOT is pursuing the first initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program: The Major Bridge P3 Initiative,” the state transportation department said in a release.

While PennDOT is still determining short- and long-term funding solutions for the PennDOT Pathways projects, early findings show the benefits of tolling on major bridges in order to pay for the replacement or rehabilitation of the structure.

PennDOT explains that bridge tolling collects the funds needed to pay for the construction, maintenance and operation of the bridge. At the same time, it will not deplete financial resources dedicated to ongoing projects and future roadway improvements. Like the Pa. Turnpike, PennDOT would establish electronic tolling on these bridges via E-ZPass or license plate billing.

The Pa. P3 Board approved the major bridge initiative in Nov. 2020 ultimately allowing PennDOT to begin using the P3 delivery model for major bridges in the state that are in need of repairs or restructuring.

Specifically, PennDOT explains the P3 model, “can leverage private investment to rebuild critical bridges during a period with historically low-interest rates and a favorable labor market.” Additionally, tolling major bridges provides a dedicated source of revenue for infrastructure improvements and has the potential to actively ensure “the vitality of the state’s transportation system and economy.”

“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,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.

Within the Midstate, the I-83 South Bridge Project in Dauphin County is among those being considered for the P3 Initiative.

According to PennDOT, “each bridge’s project scope, surrounding roadway network, and traffic flow is being evaluated for inclusion in one or more project bundles to be advertised this spring.”

Private-sector partners can find a presentation outlining the anticipated process and project benefits on the Major Bridge P3 project page.

More information on each individual bridge project, and when the public will have an opportunity to engage in those projects, can be found at www.penndot.gov/funding and on the project pages.

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