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National News

Biden infrastructure plan offers new bus routes and highways in Pennsylvania

Credit: iStock

Anzhe Zhang

Over the next five years, Pennsylvania is set to receive federal funding in the billions under the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bipartisan legislation, which commits $550 billion in areas like transportation, communications, and energy use.

Now as more federal resources are allocated into different sectors within Pennsylvania, people across the state are beginning to see its effects on the local economy, despite GOP criticism of the legislation.

According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, Pennsylvania is set to receive $1.6 billion for bridge replacements and $11.3 billion for its federal highways over the next five years in a state that has 3,353 bridges and 7,540 miles of highway in need of repair.

In Allegheny County alone, the Department of Transportation reported there were 176 bridges in poor condition following the January collapse of a bridge in Frick Park that injured 10 people.

Additionally, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced last week that 39 states would receive $409.3 million in grants to help modernize buses and optimize public transportation routes, of which Pennsylvania’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is set to receive $9.8 million in funding that entails two new bus centers in Philadelphia, and will help improve accessibility options for passengers. The funding announced for SEPTA comes at a time when other initiatives from the IIJA are also beginning to set in, alleviating some of the infrastructure problems that have accumulated over the past decades in Pennsylvania, such as the condition of the state’s bridges.

“Public transportation, especially bus systems, are a critical support for communities throughout Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf in a statement highlighting the ways that the $9.8 grant will modernize a transportation system that made 223.5 million trips for residents in 2020.

In December, Senator Bob Casey also noted the $70 million in grants secured to improve the state’s 62 airports, alongside clean water initiatives like the $1.8 million dedicated to the maintenance of lakes in the state.