HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Trade associations representing Pennsylvania's highway construction industry have launched a statewide advertising and public outreach campaign to support the funding recommendations of the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.
"It probably won't surprise anyone that the construction industry supports the commission's funding recommendations," said APC Executive Vice President Robert Latham. "What's noteworthy is that the industry is stepping up in a big way to marshal public support for this funding plan. We believe now is the time to finally address this issue in a meaningful way."
The campaign begins this week with statewide television and radio ads that encourage the public to sign an online petition supporting the funding plan. The petition is at www.BetterSaferRoads.com. Additional calls to action – emails and phone calls to elected officials – will follow.
Latham said the public opinion research commissioned by the industry over the last several years show that the public has become increasingly aware of the importance of the transportation funding issue, and a majority of the public is willing to make a modest investment to improve safety and relieve congestion.
"Three years ago, as the public discussion was caught up in 'tolling' versus 'taxing' versus 'increased fees' versus 'leasing the Turnpike,' we stripped all of that back and began asking very simply, how much would you be willing to pay to improve safety and relieve congestion?" Latham said. "An impressive majority – 58 percent – has expressed willingness to invest at least $10 per month. The TFAC funding recommendations would cost a typical motorist just 70 cents per week in the first year, growing to $2.54 per week in Year 5, which works out to almost exactly $10 per month."
Moreover, Latham noted, not making the investment would cost many motorists considerably more.
"If your 15-mile daily commute that should take about 20 minutes, instead takes 30 minutes because of congestion, you're probably wasting an additional three gallons of gas per week," he said. "At $3.50 a gallon, that's more than $10 per week, four times more than what a typical motorist would pay under the TFAC plan."
In addition to improving safety and relieving congestion, the TFAC plan would provide a much-needed economic stimulus, both in the short term and over the long run, Latham said. He cited an economic study by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, which showed that tens of thousands of jobs would be created, 58 percent of them in industries other than highway construction.
"At some point, it becomes a no-brainer," Latham said. "The public wants safer, less congested roads. We all want economic recovery as quickly as possible, as well as longer-term prosperity. This plan provides all that, at a level of personal investment that the public is willing to support."
Joining Latham at the news conference were several members of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, of which APC is a member. For several years, the group has been at the forefront of the push for a comprehensive solution to Pennsylvania's transportation funding problem.
In addition to APC, the coalition consists of public transit agencies, groups representing labor unions, the business community, freight haulers, freight and passenger rail, air and sea ports, local governments, bicycle and pedestrian trail advocates, land-use advocates, local chambers of commerce, travel and tourism organizations, environmental advocates, health care providers, AARP and AAA.
The group is united in its belief that the various transportation modes constitute a single, integrated, interconnected transportation network. Members of this group have been behind www.ReConnectPa.org., an interactive web site designed to stimulate discussions around the various local transportation projects needed around the state.
SOURCE Triad Strategies