In $3.5 billion hole, PennDOT takes step to trim costs

    Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation is making an effort to cut costs with several changes ranging from moving certain user services completely online to sharing resources with the Turnpike.

    They could be the first baby steps toward filling a $3.5 billion hole.

    Pennsylvanians can monitor progress themselves on the agency’s web site, says spokesman Dennis Buterbaugh.

    “People can see if it’s a brand-new idea that hasn’t been implemented yet or if it’s already in progress and part of it has been done. In some of these cases, some of the ideas are actually finished,” he said. “And then you’ll see a 100 percent beside the idea, so you can actually track the progress of the idea as we move forward.”

    Completed measures include putting certain driver services entirely online, and requiring contractors, such as AAA, to follow suit. Also in the works, Buterbaugh said, is a pilot study to see if there’s a way for the bridge builders at the different levels of government to pool information on construction projects.

    “Some of them may be very similar,” he said. “So there could be some shared engineering data, some shared construction techniques, so each bridge wouldn’t have to be looked at as kind of a custom project of its own, rather than repeating some of the work. “

    Buterbaugh said about half of the cost-savings measures came with the recommendation of a special panel put together by Gov. Tom Corbett.

    The Transportation Funding Advisory Commission was tasked with identifying a few billion dollars in new revenue and many of its suggestions would require legislation.

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