Six of Pennsylvania’s “deficient” bridges are in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy

Six bridges located in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy are on a new report listing Pennsylvania’s structurally deficient bridges.

The six bridges or overpasses, Bells Mill rd., Valley Green rd., Cherokee St., Willow Grove Ave., Henry Ave., and Allens Lane, require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement, according to the report.

The six among 6,000 bridges statewide that are categorized as structurally deficient in a new report by Transportation for America, an advocacy group that calls for more federal funding for roads and rail projects.

The report ranks Pennsylvania dead last when it comes to the percentage of bridges that are structurally deficient.

The Transportation for America study shows nearly 27 percent of the state’s bridges–a total of nearly 6,000–have problems. Oklahoma is the runner-up, at 22 percent.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett acknowledged it’s a problem, but said funding repairs needs to take a back seat to the budget, right now.

“Are we trying to…find the funds for it? Yes. But I will go back, and you’ve heard me say it repeatedly: we inherited a $4.3 billion deficit that we have to resolve,” he said.

The governor wants to fund efforts through privatization, and blamed his predecessors for not acting to fix infrastructure problems.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell disputed that take, saying he put a lot of effort into fixing roadways, beginning with 2007’s Act 44.

“It was probably the most historic step in investment transportation funding in the history of the commonwealth,” he said. “We had a $400 million bond issue that I pushed through for our bridges, as you recall. Even before that $400 million bridge initiative, I tripled the amount of spending on our bridges from $250 million to $750 million, on an annual basis.”

But the federal government rejected a key portion of Act 44’s funding plan when it denied a request to toll I-80. Rendell spent his final months in office urging lawmakers to pass a gas tax to fund infrastructure repair, but the initiative never gained momentum. He did, however, oversee over $1 billion in federal stimulus expenditures on roads and bridges in 2009 and 2010.

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