TRI-COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
SECTION: CAPITAL INVESTMENT
CONVENTIONAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING ––
Federal regulations require that Long Range Transportation Plans include a financial plan. The financial plan should identify reasonable funding resources sufficient to implement the current and proposed projects through 2045 to demonstrate the federal transportation system is being adequately operated and maintained. The program of projects will be implemented if the project development process requirements are satisfied and the financial resources assumed in the RTP are in place.
PennDOT provided financial guidance in the 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) entitled “Scenario 4: Transportation Program Financial Guidance.” The document provided Year of Expenditure (YOE) calculations for estimating project costs and inflation factors for projecting transportation revenue growth over the life span of the RTP. Project revenue was projected to the year 2045 using baseline funding provided in the HATS 2021-2024 TIP, estimated inflation rate factors consistent with the financial guidance recommendations, as well as historic revenue trends and financial assumptions developed by evaluating prior years’ federal, state and local expenditures. The total projected revenue anticipated to be available through 2045 is approximately $3.6 billion.
HATS programs projects in 4-year increments, commonly known as the TIP. The current TIP became effective October 1, 2020. The total amount of funding for the TIP is $640 million. Based on coordination with PennDOT, the total amount of funding necessary to fully complete the projects on the 2021 TIP is $104 million. In total, PennDOT has estimated that the funding necessary to complete projects programmed in the 12YP and maintain the current condition of the transportation assets in the HATS region throughout the planning period is approximately $890 million. With post-2024 estimates for transit and interstate investments at $393 million and $1.48 billion respectively, there will be approximately $233 million available ($187 million in the mid-range and $46 million long-range) in the MPO’s anticipated level of funding through 2045 to meet the needs and recommendations evaluated in the Project Pipeline listing. The large gap between projected revenues and costs for the Interstate Program represents a significant hurdle to addressing all our transportation needs in the region. Should dedicated funding or revenue be identified outside other HATS sources, the number of transportation needs that could be addressed would increase.
In addition to the Project Pipeline needs, the I-83 South Bridge Replacement represents a significant financial investment anticipated in the short- to mid-term of the plan. This project will be fully programmed under the Interstate Management Program and the associated funding source is currently PennDOT’s Major Bridge P3 Project. The Major Bridge P3 initiative is the first alternative funding initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program and is design to raise revenue through tolling to address the state’s growing backlog of major replacement and rehabilitation needs. As such, the I-83 South Bridge Replacement is not included in the fiscal constraint analysis. It was, however, included in the Air Quality Conformity Analysis discussed later in the plan.
Through the Project Pipeline process, a total of 73 transportation needs were identified and evaluated. The estimated costs to complete these needs is between approximately $540 million (short-term) and $890 million (long-term). Due to the funding limitation discussed above, only a portion of the needs identified in the Project Pipeline are anticipated to be met through 2045 in order to maintain fiscal constraint. In total, 33 regional transportation needs are unable to be met which total between $319 million (short-term) and $543 million (long-term). These remaining, unmet Transportation Needs have been listed as illustrative, along with projects identified from planning study recommendations, Regional Connections program projects, and HATS’ congestion management and safety analyses. The complete illustrative project listing totals $3.6 billion.
The key recommendations contained in the RTP and input received through the Transportation Need Form that is integrated into this plan are designed to identify transportation system needs within the planning period that are not addressed by the projects contained in the TIP. Once the needs are identified and prioritized, HATS will work with PennDOT and other stakeholders to develop projects that can fit within the funds available, thereby maintaining fiscal constraint throughout the planning period. This ongoing planning process ensures that the projects contained in future TIPs are consistent with the RTP priorities when federal transportation funds are to be used for project implementation.
The financial analysis relies on current recommended economic factors to estimate future available revenue and project cost estimates. The calculations do not consider any potential unforeseen economic events that may present a positive or negative impact to the current projection of available revenue, as well as estimates of project needs and associated costs. Any such major events may necessitate a revision to the RTP.
The RTP is not intended to be a standalone funding program. The plan serves as the basis for determining project priorities among many competing regional transportation needs and improves the decision-making process for the development of the biannual TIP. Other funding opportunities including the PennDOT and DCED Multimodal Fund and Public-Private Partnerships are identified in the following sections of the plan.
Full project listings, including FFY 2021-2024 Highway/Bridge, Public Transit, and Interstate Transportation Improvement Program, FFY 2021-2032 Highway/Bridge and Interstate Twelve Year Plan are available here. More information on the Transportation Improvement Program and Twelve Year Plan, including interactive mapping is available here.