I am writing in response to Janet Thompson's Aug. 16 letter to the editor about the removal of the Sharpsburg bridge.
For some background information, PennDOT has proposed to remove a 100-year-old bridge in the small community of Sharpsburg and not replace it.
Instead, there would be two separate accesses into the town, which has a population of around 200 people.
As a contractor who performs work for PennDOT, I probably know the "young, smart" engineers who Thompson complained about. She characterized them as not caring about the needs of the residents. It is not that PennDOT does not care. It is that it simply does not have the money to do everything employees wish to do.
The last time the gas tax was raised was 16 years ago in 1996. The gas tax was raised by a measly 3 cents per gallon. Back then gas was 98 cents per gallon.
Today, you and I pay roughly $3.50 per gallon of gas, but the gas tax remains the same - there has been no adjustment for inflation. In 1996, our company sold blacktop for $30 per ton, today we sell it for $70 per ton.
PennDOT is not getting any more money to repair the infrastructure of the state, but almost everything it buys costs more than twice as much as it did in 1996.
PennDOT has to make tough decisions on what projects to do with a limited budget, that ultimately effect people like Thompson, and her neighbors.
In 2010, Gov. Tom Corbett commissioned an advisory committee, the Transportation Funding Advisory Committee that determined that PennDOT needed to spend an additional $2.5 billion annually to keep up with the roadway needs in the state.
That's a big number, so here is what it would mean to you as an average motorist: approximately 70 cents per week to start, and would eventually grow to $2.50 cents per week.
This would come in the form of increased fuel taxes or a higher fee for things such as your vehicle registration or drivers' license.
As of now, there is general support for these measures in both the House and the Senate. Corbett is the holdup.
Despite the recommendations of the TFAC report, the governor has yet to lead on the issue or indicate he would sign such a measure.
Contact the governor, and tell him you are willing to pay more to get more.
Or your town may be the next Sharpsburg Bridge.