PA bridges most deficient in the country - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

PA bridges most deficient in the country

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (09/13/13) - Pennsylvania has the most structurally deficient bridges in the country, yet only receives ten-percent of federal funding to fix them.

That's according to Senator Bob Casey, who's working on a new bill that would increase funding for the Keystone State's bridges. This is in light of a Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 – when 13 people were killed, and 145 people were injured.

The incident cast a spotlight on the country's aging infrastructure, which continues today.

Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of having the most structurally deficient bridges in the country.

"I think anyone would be surprised and very concerned they're so high," said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

Casey says a quarter of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, but right now, the state only receives ten-percent of federal funds to fix "off system" bridges. Off-system means they're not on the federal-aid highway system. They're owned and operated by local governments.

Warren County has the highest percentage of "off system" deficient bridges – nearly 24%. That's followed by Crawford County with 23.6% and Erie County with 13-and-a-half percent.

The worst county in the state? McKean County, where more than 43% of their off-system bridges are structurally unsound.

"Ultimately, it creates major problems for business…It leads to an anxiety and a worry about how we move commerce and people not wanting to take a particular route because they're worried about the bridges," Casey said.

Casey is introducing a bill alongside Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would increase funding for off-system bridges. If it passes, he says the Keystone State would receive an additional 30-million dollars.

"It's in no way a complete resolution of the larger infrastructure challenges or even the bridge problems we have, but this would help enormously," Casey said.

Last year, Casey worked bipartisanly on an amendment that ultimately brought in 74-million dollars for Pennsylvania's bridges. He's hopeful the same approach will work again this year.

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