American Shipper

Pa. legislator proposes public-private approach to infrastructure

Pa. legislator proposes public-private approach to infrastructure

An influential Pennsylvania legislator said the state needs to consider public-private partnerships as a means of helping fix the state’s transportation infrastructure.

   Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee, issued a statement urging the state to look at such partnerships, as he hosted a two-hour roundtable in Harrisburg on the benefits that public-private partnerships could have on the state’s transportation system.

   “These agreements have been proven to work well throughout the country and across the world,” Geist said, “We need to think outside the box when it comes to funding the commonwealth’s transportation needs,” Geist said. “Considerably more funding will be needed if we hope to improve and expand the infrastructure to meet future needs.”

   He said the state needs $2 billion annually to meet its immediate transportation needs.

   In 2005, Geist was appointed to serve on the governor’s Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, which spent two years studying and quantifying Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure needs.

   Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed possibly leasing the Turnpike as well as putting tolls on Interstate 80 as a way of raising funds for highway infrastructure in the state.