The Pennsylvania Transportation Commission has announced the latest update to the Act 89 transportation plan, which will add about $2 billion a year over the next 12 years when compared to the last update issued two years ago. The increase will begin in the 2017 fiscal year.
The new plan anticipates $63.2 billion being made available for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads, compared to $41.6 billion in the last update.
The widening of Route 22 across the top half of the Lehigh Valley is among the projects that will be receiving extra funding in the plan.
“It’s extremely important, said Becky Bradley,” executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.
She noted that some of the widening project already is underway, with the widening and overpass at the MacArthur Road interchange being completed recently and work on the Fullerton Avenue interchange beginning by the end of the year.
The plan calls for the widening of the highway to three lanes in each direction between Airport Road and 15th Street and for the replacement of the Lehigh River Bridge. As more funding becomes available, the ultimate goal is to widen Route 22 for the entire length between Route 33 and Cedar Crest Boulevard.
“Today’s action represents a significant step forward to addressing all transportation modes,” Gov. Tom Corbett said. "Act 89 provides a solution to a decades old problem.”
The newly adopted program, which takes effect Oct. 1, anticipates $12.3 billion being available for highway and bridge projects in the first four years. Public transit is in line for $7.9 billion; aviation, $370 million; the state’s rail-freight systems are expected to receive $228 million; and the newly created multimodal fund will receive $284 million in the first four years.