Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students
from the North Allegheny School District in Allegheny County has been selected
as the PennDOT District 11 winner for its fourth Innovations Challenge.
Mentored by Janellen
Lombardi, team members included Brendan White and Benjamin Quint.
Since last fall,
students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge that
asked students to
develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address
Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new
funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user
fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.
becoming more fuel efficient and electric vehicles becoming more affordable,
gasoline-based revenues can no longer generate the funds needed,” said PennDOT
Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “To meet the needs of our aging infrastructure,
Pennsylvania needs to establish a funding stream that will inject an additional
$5 billion per year into our transportation system.”
regional team’s innovation, titled “Restructuring Registration Fee with
Rebates”, involves restructuring the way PennDOT registers cars. The students’ solution would propose raising
revenue while also incorporating a rebate structure for car owners based on the
amount spent in gas tax the previous year.
Incorporating sustainability into the solution, it accounts for the
anticipated shift from electric to gas vehicles.
Now in its fourth
year, the PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students in grades
9-12 to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to
solve real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge aims to
not only help students explore actual transportation challenges that PennDOT is
facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for
PennDOT after graduation.
like to express our gratitude to the schools participating in this year’s
Innovations’ Challenge. It has been a
unique and challenging year for us all.
We commend all the students for their efforts in developing their
proposed solutions to a very important issue.
Not only have they worked through the disruptions of COVID-19 in their
own lives, but they also took on the added challenge of helping PennDOT find
solutions to its funding needs. We want
to congratulate Brendan and Benjamin on their winning proposal and thank their
mentor Janellen Lombardi for her efforts
to support the team,” said PennDOT
District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, P.E.
Regional winners will
now move on to compete virtually in Harrisburg for the state championship.
The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an
educational arm of the Associated
Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania
Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are
providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first,
second and third place statewide winning teams.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Joel Morris, Community Relations