How I-95’s rapid repair teaches 'lessons' in fixing infrastructure: Pennsylvania governor

How I-95’s rapid repair teaches 'lessons' in fixing infrastructure: Pennsylvania governor
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 04: Governor of Pennsylvania Josh Shapiro is seen at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony during Wawa Welcome America on July 04, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images).

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro (D) published an opinion column in Sunday's Washington Post in which he outlines what the rest of the United States can learn from his administration's lightning-quick repair of a section of Interstate-95 that collapsed outside of Philadelphia in June.

"Experts told me it would take months to get traffic flowing again," Shapiro begins. "Instead, state and local leaders and project managers on the ground made decisions quickly, thought creatively and worked together to rebuild and reopen the highway in just 12 days."

Because of President Joe Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Shapiro writes, "States and cities now have billions of dollars to spend on everything from highway and bridge repair to broadband expansion and clean energy."

READ MORE: Philadelphia highway collapse could impact major interstate 'for a long time'

Shapiro then spells out four ways that the Keystone State set an example for the rest of the country.

The first, Shapiro says, is leadership, like that of Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Michael B. Carroll, who "practically lived out of a trailer on the site, personally supervising construction and making decisions in real-time. No one had to check with headquarters to keep the project moving; the construction site was headquarters."

Next, Shapiro recommends streamlining red tape, recalling, "We fast-tracked the permitting process to avoid delays while maintaining safety standards — relying on our experience with past permitting processes as well as the expertise of engineers and other professionals. Thanks to a disaster declaration I signed within 24 hours after the collapse, some bureaucratic requirements were waived completely."

Shapiro also urges states to "encourage creativity and allow everyone to bring their ideas forward" and to "work together" to "get the job done safely and with tremendous skill."

READ MORE: DeSantis allies used $92 million in pandemic relief funds for megadonor’s I-95 project: report

Shapiro's full editorial is available at this link (subscription required).

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