By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is calling on Congress to avoid the equivalent of a government shut down of federally funded highway projects.
Senator Casey’s briefing Monday featured the Green Lane Bridge, a structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridge as a backdrop, the one that carries 23,000 vehicles a day off Belmont Avenue into Manayunk at Main Street.
“You don’t have to be a structural engineer to see how it’s deteriorated,” Casey said.
Without new money for the Highway Trust Fund, federal funding for road, bridge and transit construction will be cut back by nearly one-third starting August 1, the same day Congress begins a five-week summer recess.
“The US 202 widening project and the Route 422 bridge project would either have to cease or we’d have to pull state money from elsewhere,” said Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, “harming other projects, if Washington doesn’t get this done.”
A vote on a number of pressing issues, including a temporary patch for the Highway Bill, is expected by Thursday. But the nearly $11-billion bill only shores up funding through May.
Critics say it’s just “kicking the can down the road again,” and Senator Casey says a longer term transportation bill is needed.
“We need a six year bill,” the senator said, “and we need a bill that’s well funded.”
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