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Major Bridge P3 Program

Approximately 75 percent of PennDOT's highway and bridge funding comes from federal and state gas taxes, but fuel consumption has been progressively decreasing in large part to the increased adoption of more fuel efficient, hybrid and all-electric vehicles. PennDOT Pathways is a program to identify, evaluate and implement alternative funding solutions. As part of that program, an Alternative Funding Planning and Environmental Linkages study identified bridge tolling as a potential near-term solution. In an effort to accelerate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of nine major bridges throughout the state, PennDOT developed the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (MBP3) in which each of those bridges would be tolled. 

Since that time, Act 84 of 2022 amended the P3 law to eliminate tolling of existing free lanes, and as a result PennDOT is moving the bridge projects in the MBP3 forward without tolling. With the elimination of tolling, six of the nine projects are moving forward with Categorical Exclusions (CE) or CE Reevaluations to complete the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision-making process. Each CE or CE Reevaluation evaluates and documents how the respective projects would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources, environmental resources and more. The three remaining projects from the continue to be evaluated by PennDOT.

The six projects moving forward in the environmental process will be constructed through the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership. Under the MBP3, PennDOT entered into a Predevelopment Agreement with Bridging Pennsylvania Partners (BPP) to perform preliminary design work with a goal of leading to a separate project agreement to finalize design, build, finance, and maintain the bridges in the MBP3. BPP was selected based on criteria articulated in a competitive Request For Proposals. Act 84 of 2022 preserved PennDOT's ability to continue the MBP3 and move forward with its existing agreement with BPP. If a project agreement is signed, PennDOT will repay the amounts financed by the development entity with recurring payments over 30 years.

These bridges remain critical components of our intra- and interstate system and need to be replaced, so other sources of funding will be necessary to complete the projects. In addition to PennDOT's pursuit of funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – including potential federal competitive grants – funds from the existing overall statewide budget will have to be reallocated to these projects. This will result in the deferral or elimination of other important regional projects throughout the state that are currently part of PennDOT's 12-Year Program.


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