The state Department of Transportation has released a website that compares current spending with plans to spend billions of dollars on highways and bridges in new transportation money under proposals being considered by the Legislature.
PennDOT initially made the website password-protected so that only state legislators could view it. The state lawmakers were given access to the website more than two weeks ago. After requests from media outlets including The Associated Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, officials made the website public Friday.
Proponents have cited many reasons for the necessity of a transportation bill, including the state's more than 4,000 structurally deficient bridges, many of which are in Western Pennsylvania. The system has also been difficult to maintain because transportation-related taxes and fees haven't been raised since 1997 and are not indexed to inflation.
On the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's website (www.dotdecade.pa.gov/doi/index.aspx), there is an interactive state map showing highway and bridge projects under consideration.
For each of the projects, users can compare the work that would be completed under the $2.5 billion-a-year Senate plan, Gov. Tom Corbett's $1.8 billion-a-year plan and current funding.
Some local projects on the map include paving of the HOV lanes on Interstate 279, work on the Liberty Bridge and rehabilitation of the Neville Island Bridge.
The online map can be broken down by county or legislative district, with each proposed project listing a description and cost estimate.
The funding for both proposed plans comes largely from the money raised by increasing the tax on gasoline wholesalers. The Senate bill is expected to cost a typical driver about $3 per week.
The state House is expected to take up transportation funding this week.
Legislators must move quickly to get a transportation bill passed before July 1. If the Legislature recesses for the summer without passing a bill, action is unlikely this year, according to legislative leaders.
Jessica Tully: email@example.com, 412-263-1159 and on Twitter: @jessalynn4. The Associated Press contributed to this report.