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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: How vulnerable is Central PA transportation infrastructure?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 13, 2013 2:01 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Tuesday, May 14:

I-81 by Robb Wilson 300 x 170.jpg

Photo by Robb Wilson

Interstate 81 near Harrisburg in Dauphin County is open after being closed both north and southbound since last Thursday morning.  That's when a tanker truck hauling diesel fuel crashed and burned.  The fire got so hot that it weakened the overpass and underpass that is part of a confluence of highways. 

Right after the crash, traffic throughout the region was at a standstill for hours.  Motorists had to find alternate routes to where they were going.  It was a good example of the ripple effect on the highways and streets throughout the Harrisburg region when there is a major disruption of a transportation hub.

Is Harrisburg unique or would a similar incident have the same impact if say the Schuylkill Expressway was closed near Philadelphia?

At a time when we hear that more than a quarter of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, Thursday's incident begs the question whether our transportation infrastructure is vulnerable?

Repairs to I-81 are expected to cost about $10 million alone and Gov. Tom Corbett's Transportation Advisory Commission estimated the state's is about $3.5 billion behind in transportation funding, so how to pay for upgrades is an issue.

Many are asking after the tanker crash whether more investment in mass transit or additional commuter programs are needed.

Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk will focus on transportation issues and whether region is vulnerable.

What are your thoughts on transportation infrastructure?


Left to Right: Tim Reardon, Michael Britt, Bill Jones

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-05-14 08:59

    Thomas in Manheim Township in Lancaster writes:
    My question, what then ever happened to the "trolley" systems in this area.....were these scrapped without fore thought to the future....and what ever happened to "corridor one" and two, system that was to built. i remember riding on the light rail car in 1997 in harrisburg, and it was never built. also what about rail service on norfolk southern line to hershey, lebanon and reading.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-05-14 09:02

    Peter in Harrisburg writes:
    I missed some of the beginning, but isn’t the fact that cars and trucks do not pay their full cost of road use making it harder to fund mass transit? I agree with the idea that we should be paying more to use roads whether it be a fuel tax or a vehicle mile tax. Further, cheap commuting has encouraged the spread of the suburbs, making mass-transit less feasible.

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