With the deteriorating conditions of roadways and bridges in the state affecting commerce and industry, the state Department of Transportation deputy secretary spoke to members of the state Forests Products Association Wednesday on Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed transportation funding package.
Brad Mallory, PennDOT deputy secretary, said at the association's regional meeting that more funding is needed to improve the transportation infrastructure being
because industries and commerce rely on state roadways more than ever.
Trucks travel along Route 15 south of South Williamsport on Thursday afternoon.
"Is it any surprise that with modern commerce ... that we're putting wear and tear on these roads," Mallory told the group.
Roadways and bridges have seen a "tremendous" amount of wear on them as traffic has increased.
"The truth is, the road was never designed to take on that amount of traffic," Mallory said.
He called the declining quality of the infrastructure, when need is so high, a "train wreck."
Bridges have deteriorated as a result of being older and taking on more traffic than they were designed to have.
"So you have a situation where ... bridges are a time bomb," he said.
Mallory added that if nothing is done, it wouldn't surprise him in three to five years to see an increase in bridges that are closed or posted.
"We have to do something about it," he said.
And while Act 13 Impact fee gas money has done "reasonably well up to this point," Mallory said the state would like to repair roadways and bridges. But, like everything, it will cost money.
"There is a cost associated with this. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it," he said.
The governor is proposing lifting the wholesale gas tax over three years.
"This has the prospect of working pretty well for us, but there is a cost," Mallory said.
Mallory said the proposal is important to pass because it affects everyone. He said whether it's delivering a product, driving home after work or getting a fire truck to a fire, everyone will be affected.
"I think, frankly, the situation gets better for all of us," he said.