Transportation bill’s fruits about to show in region’s bridges

The state transportation bill passed last fall to solve Pennsylvania’s highway and bridge woes carries with it some unwelcome outcomes.

The bill’s main revenue source is raised by lifting the cap on the Oil Co. Franchise Tax, which has raised gas prices at the pump by about 9 cents on average.

Certainly no one is happy about that.

But at least in the coming months there will be visible evidence of where the money is going.

Mark Murawski, county transportation planner, last week detailed what will happen with May’s funding rollout.

There are more than 40 structurally deficient state-owned bridges in the county in addition to 60 locally owned ones. In May, bolstered by the fresh infusion of transportation funding, The Williamsport Area Transportation Study will unveil a new transportation improvement program.

The goal reducing to zero the number of deficient bridges is more reachable than ever thanks to the transportation bill.

Bridge conditions are more important in our region than most others because of the number of creeks and streams they span. There are more bridges here than most places and they are often the sole means to get somewhere.

If the bridge isn’t working, the road might as well not exist in many areas of our region.

So curse the higher gas prices. We feel you.

But understand that the state’s highway and bridge system, including locally, wasn’t going to get healed without the fundamental funding changes represented in the new transportation bill.

We have a couple decades worth of track record for proof of that.