Transportation bill will have big impact on local roads

If you are wondering whether the state transportation bill will create more state highway work in the area, the numbers should answer the question.

In the Williamsport area alone, $5.8 million will be used from the bill’s fresh revenues for resurfacing, pavement preservation, bridge replacement, intersection improvement and sign structure replacement.

A 7.39-mile section of Route 220 from Lycoming Mall Drive in Muncy Township to Railroad Street in Hughesville will be resurfaced after several years stuck on the drawing board due to lack of funding.

Up to 272 miles of road will be resurfaced and 53 bridges will be replaced or rehabilitated in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation district that covers our region.

There were 72 road and bridge improvement projects planned for the district before the transportation bill was passed. Another 50 were added to the ledger after it was passed.

And with the projects comes the ultimate payoff jobs and economic churn. Most of the work will go to local contractors, preserving jobs or adding jobs and creating fresh revenue that ultimately will be spent in our area. Estimates are that 18,000 jobs will be created by this bill.

The transportation bill is funded by eliminating the 12 cents-per-gallon tax at the pump on gasoline and fuel and replacing it with a tax at the wholesale level. While the end effect of that on the price at the pump is an open question, the benefit to the state highways and bridges, including those in the region, is clearly positive.