A bipartisan group of 104 U.S. mayors from across the nation, including Allentown’s Ed Pawlowski, has released a letter to Senate and House leaders calling for the swift passage of legislation that will significantly increase transit, highway and safety program commitments to cities, and provide six years of funding certainty in the transportation reauthorization that is set to expire on July 31.
“This is not a partisan issue. Deficient bridges exist in red and blue districts all across this country. Many city and state leaders, Democrats and Republicans, are already stepping up and committing more local funds. However, without a strong federal partner, the twin demands of maintaining existing infrastructure and preparing for the future are beyond the means of any city,” the mayors stated in the letter.
The group of mayors noted that current federal commitments are insufficient to maintain, much less enhance, our nation’s transportation network. Public transit maintenance needs exceed $86 billion and the highway and bridge repair backlog is an estimated $808 billion. Since 2009, federal surface transportation commitments have remained stagnant.
“Shorter term transportation authorizations and patches create uncertainty and increase risk, further increasing project costs. We simply cannot afford continued extensions of the status quo,” the mayors continued.
The letter was also signed in Pennsylvania by Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez, Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Altoona Mayor JP Conkling.