Pennsylvania's New Comprehensive Transportation Funding Package and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership Opportunities
On November 25, 2013 along Route 322 in Spring Mills, Pa ,Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 1060-The Comprehensive Transportation Funding Package into law. By the fifth year, the package provides $2.3 to $2.4 billion in new revenue for local and state roads and bridges, mass transit, and multi-modal transportation. The last state transportation funding package was enacted into law in 1997.
The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, as an active member of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, advocated for the increase in transportation funding and its greenway-friendly provisions. The word greenway connotes two concepts: green suggest natural amenities – forests, riverbanks, fields; way implies a route or path. Together they describe a vision of natural corridors that providing pathways for walking.
There are several greenway friendly provisions in the package which offer Susquehanna Greenway project partners opportunities to use state transportation funding to help connect people with natural and cultural resources, and promote a sustainable and healthy environment along the Susquehanna. The package sets the stage for working towards an interconnected system of bicycle, pedestrian, and boat access areas and for improved water quality in the river and its tributaries.
The package creates:
In order to take advantage of these opportunities, it is essential that the Susquehanna Greenway Partners play an active role in Metropolitan and Rural Transportation Planning Organization planning and programming to obtain project funding for greenway-supporting projects. Much of the state transportation funding will be allocated through these transportation planing organizations.
As local transportation funding will be allocated through the local municipalities, it is essential to play an active role in transportation planning and programming at the municipal level.
The Susquehanna Greenway Partnership in cooperation with the Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations along the river are looking into how to best provide its partners with the information and technical assistance they need to take advantage of the opportunities provided by House Bill 1060. Stay tuned.
On behalf of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, the staff and Board thank all those partners and friends who actively supported the enactment of the comprehensive transportation funding package.