Need for investment in Pa. roads and bridges dire, coalition warns

The week after a bridge collapsed into a river outside Seattle, the president of Philadelphia’s chapter of the AFL-CIO said Pennsylvania must invest in infrastructure.

Patrick Eiding joined a statewide coalition of business leaders and advocates urging Pennsylvania to allocate more money for transportation projects.

“It would be a tragedy to have somebody get killed before we recognize the fact that the legislators have to sit down,” Eiding said.

His colleague in this effort, Kevin Johnson, who sits on the board of SEPTA and runs an engineering firm, says the need is urgent.

“In some cases they’re holding these structures together with the engineering equivalent of spit and bubble gum,” Johnson said Wednesday.

A comprehensive transportation plan proposed in Harrisburg would raise $2.5 billion for transportation infrastructure.

However, the group, including the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, says the state should be spending $4.5 billion more every year to maintain and rehabilitate the state’s roads and bridges.

TRIP, a national transportation nonprofit group, estimates that congestion and additional wear and tear on vehicles from faulty infrastructure cost Pennsylvania drivers $9.4 billion a year.

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