Gov. Wolf Joins U.S. Department of Transportation to Announce $70 Million Awarded to Pennsylvania for Critical Infrastructure Updates
Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf joined U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on a press call to announce that Pennsylvania has been awarded $70 million in federal grant funding to address two critical infrastructure projects in the commonwealth – safety improvements to Route 61 in Schuylkill County and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority’s (Philaport) Southport Wharf Development and Port Expansion project.
“Pennsylvania is immensely grateful that the Biden Administration has recognized the importance of these projects not only for the necessary safety improvements but also for the commonwealth’s economic recovery,” said Gov. Wolf. “When completed, both projects will provide additional efficiencies to our roadways and waterways as well as job opportunities for Pennsylvanians by breathing new life into communities across the commonwealth.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will be awarded $21 million to reconstruct the Route 61, a vital freight and local-traffic connection in Schuylkill County. Project details include making safety improvements to the 100-year-old structural support system while avoiding closures that would cause detours and significant local impacts. According to the benefit cost analysis completed for the application, the project will employ Intelligent Transportation System devices throughout the corridor and could bring more than $214 million toward economic vitality, nearly $19 million in environmental benefits (such as emissions savings), and more than $23 million in equity opportunities like improved emergency responses and access to medical facilities.
Additionally, Philaport will receive $49 million to construct a multi-use berth at the Southport, representing the first deepwater berth construction in Philadelphia in over 50 years. The project will allow for ships to dock directly at Philaport’s Southport terminal, where vehicular and other cargo can be efficiently stored near the berth, as well as improve efficiency and logistics like reducing transfers between processing centers and reduce congestion to accommodate container and bulk cargo.
“These issues are critical to our public safety, our quality of life, our environment, and our economy,” said Gov. Wolf. “Our infrastructure is a critical component to our economic recovery. As businesses recover and our workforce grows, they depend on vast our transportation network. Infrastructure projects are also job creators, further spurring economic growth.”
The $70 million funding is part of the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program. Only 24 projects were selected out of 173 submissions, totaling $906 million in federal grant funding.