Budget crisis stops roadside cleaning

    A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman says the state let a contract expire with the private firm that hired crews to clean roadsides deemed too dangerous for volunteers.

    Pennsylvania is facing a budget crisis, but that didn’t stop state officials from temporarily stopping a program that was saving the state $25,000 dollars a month. A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman says the state let a contract expire with the private firm that hired crews to clean roadsides deemed too dangerous for volunteers.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090723lfhighway.mp3]

    Under the Sponsor-a-Highway program businesses paid a private company to clean up a strip of the roadside. In exchange a sign advertised the businesses’ sponsorship.

    PennDot spokesperson Charles Metzger says the program is on hiatus while the state looks for ways to make the program better. He says the state’s handling the clean-up until a re-tooled program is up and running.

    Metzger: That will free up our maintenance workers to go out and pay attention to actual road maintenance, bridge maintenance, rather than litter clean up. Even though cleaning up litter is still important, also keeping the infrastructure is equally important.

    Metzger says the new program will likely continue to include roadsides like the Schuylkill Expressway, 95, the Blue Route, and other limited access highways.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.