On Tuesday, Jan. 1, I was honored to be sworn in for my third term as state representative for the 124th Legislative District. As we begin the 2013-14 legislative session, there are several key issues that we need to address.
There is no issue that affects as many Pennsylvania residents as our aging roads, bridges and infrastructure. The condition of our roads presents a public safety issue, as well as an economic development issue. Anyone who leaves his or her home is affected by this issue, whether you drive, walk or ride. Maintaining safe roads and bridges is a core and essential role of government, and the time to get to work is now.
In the upcoming legislative session, I will reintroduce legislation that directs the revenue from the sale of the state liquor store to be used to fix Pennsylvania's roads and bridges. My plan will establish the Infrastructure Future Fund, where the funds from the sale of the state store system will be used exclusively to pay for construction costs of transportation infrastructure projects. This legislation is contingent upon the sale of the state liquor store system.
The state liquor store system is an antiquated state asset, and I believe the money from selling the stores would be well invested in Pennsylvania's struggling infrastructure. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Transportation Advisory Committee reported that there are nearly 5,000 structurally deficient bridges and more than 7,000 miles of roads in poor condition throughout our state. And since no drastic funding has been directed to our infrastructure since that report was issued, the numbers remain about the same as we head into 2013.
Regardless of how much money is collected from the sale, my proposal would split the funds evenly over a four-year period of time, and the state would have exclusive control and authority to manage, invest and reinvest money in the fund. The proposal isn't a cure-all solution, but it would be a positive step in the right direction to immediately begin the process of fixing our state's roads and bridges.
For more information on this issue, or any other state-related issue, contact my district office in Tamaqua by calling (570) 668-1240 or in Hamburg at (610) 562-3411.