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Development & Transportation

State Grants Carry Goal of Less Wasted Time at Red Lights

The state is hoping to partner with municipalities across the state to improve traffic signals that will lead not only to better traffic flow but also to added energy savings.

PennDOT will use Act 89 funds to support its “Green Light-Go” program.  The act sets aside $10 million for signal improvements in the current budget.

“Our ‘Green Light-Go’ program… is aimed at helping financially-strapped municipalities get a jump on upgrading their traffic signals,” PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said. “By using state-of-the-art signal systems that can be timed to maximize traffic flow, motorists will notice quicker commute times and less time sitting in traffic.”

Municipalities will have to come up with a 50 percent match for the grant dollars, which can only be used at intersections with state-owned highways.

Rich Kirkpatrick, spokesman for PennDOT in Harrisburg, said some municipalities currently don’t have the resources to improve traffic signals.

“We hope that this will attract a good number of municipalities to take advantage of this program and to help them do things like improve timing, look at signals that are maybe no longer needed and put in the most modern technology,” Kirkpatrick said.

The grants will be broken into two categories—intersections with fewer than 10,000 vehicles per day and intersections with more than 10,000 vehicles per day.  The state will manage the larger projects and the municipalities will be asked to manage the smaller projects.

The Act 89 allocation for signal improvements will increase to $25 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year and up to $40 million in 2016-17 and thereafter.

Kirkpatrick said this money will help improve traffic flow and alleviate some of the frustrations drivers have on the road.

“The maddening experience that some people go through when they’re out and about driving, they’re on a long state corridor that’s got lots of traffic lights and they seem to be timed against one another, this program is intended to help municipalities deal with that,” Kirkpatrick said.

The program is part of Governor Tom Corbett’s Act 89 transportation plan.