15 June 2023- Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Fetterman (D-PA) and Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2) announced that the Federal Highway Administration approved $3,000,000 in Emergency Relief for Federal-Aid Highways (ERFA) Quick Release funding to PennDOT for repairs associated with the I-95 collapse in Northeast Philadelphia on June 11, 2023. The funding can be used for emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic and other preliminary work. A final estimate of reconstruction has not been released by PennDOT.
Senator Casey, Senator Fetterman, and Congressman Boyle released the following statement:
“Every level of government has a role to play in the reconstruction of I-95. We’re committed to ensuring the federal government does its part to support a swift reconstruction. This emergency funding is a strong start to restore essential traffic and begin the process of rebuilding I-95 and we’ll keep pushing the Department of Transportation to provide Philadelphia with the resources it needs.”
Senator Casey and Congressman Boyle toured the disaster site on Monday, June 12 and were briefed alongside the Federal Highway Administration officials on cleanup and reconstruction efforts. Casey, Fetterman, and Boyle have committed to bringing home as much federal resources as possible to repair I-95 quickly.
Senator Fetterman used his time in a recent Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing to focus on the I-95 overpass collapse that occurred in Northeast Philadelphia on Sunday. Fetterman commended the quick delivery of $3 million in Emergency Relief funds and compared it to the swift response to the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse in Western Pennsylvania last year.
Following the collapse of I-95, a major local and regional artery, Senator Fetterman suggested SEPTA’s regional rail and subway lines could be critically useful tools to ease congestion and keep Philadelphia’s streets safe while the highway is closed for reconstruction. He asked Administrator Bhatt if Emergency Relief or other funds could help with SEPTA’s temporary operating costs to make transit a viable alternative for local travel.
Senator Fetterman has sent two letters in the last month expressing concerns about actions the federal government should be taking to make streets safer and the frustrating delays that have been witnessed. His letter to the FHWA addressed their failure to update the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control, key guidelines that could address rising fatalities and economic stagnation, while his letter to the Department of Transportation and Department of Justice regarded their sluggish finalization of street accessibility guidelines, which have been pending for 20 years. During his questioning, he pressed Administrator Bhatt on when to expect these actions to be finalized and if the FHWA will commit to working with him to address these concerns. Bhatt assured the Senator that safety is the FHWA’s number one priority and promised to follow up.