Conklin: Rural bridges cannot wait to get fixed

State College - Centre Daily TimesApril 23, 2012 

Conklin: Rural bridges cannot wait to get fixed

WORTH TOWNSHIP, April 23 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, is urging the legislature to enact a comprehensive transportation funding plan focusing on small, rural bridge repairs.

Standing on the bridge over Ardery Run in Worth Township, Conklin said the deteriorating bridge highlights the need for the state to take action.

"This structure is in dire need of replacement," Conklin said. "You can see the extensive rust but that's just what you can see. What you can't see is what scares me.

"This bridge is on a list with hundreds of others that are in need of repair but have to wait until additional state funding is available. We passed Act 44 in 2007 that was expected to fund the fixes. Unfortunately that funding has been drastically slashed and here we are in a huge predicament."

Act 44 of 2007 is a comprehensive plan regarding the state transportation budget. When enacted, the plan was slated to provide for $973 million in funding for 12 years. The majority of the funding was to go to maintain and improve Pennsylvania roadways and bridges.

"The closest thing to this bridge is a farm. This is more than a way to get from point A to point B," Conklin said. "This bridge is an economic pathway. Dozens of farmers and small businesses need to utilize it out of necessity, not out of convenience. This issue goes beyond Centre County. Ardery Run is representative of what's happening all across the commonwealth.

"They rely on bridges and rural roads for their day-to-day operations. Their livelihood can't afford to wait until additional funds may or may not become available, and quite frankly, they shouldn't have to."

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