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Transit Obligations

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Publications: On The Move . . . A Basic Guide To Transportation Planning For Citizens

A Familiar Story

Planning Transportation Projects Is Like Budgeting Home Improvements.

Owning and maintaining a home is a responsibility many of us understand. Whether you’re the homeowner or you have a landlord, you know that a building has many needs that can’t all be taken care of at once. The region’s decisions regarding our transportation system involve many of the same issues of planning and budgeting! There’s never enough money to satisfy all our wants and needs. How do we set priorities? How do we find the money? Take a look at these parallels.

Who pays?

Suppose a brother and sister jointly own a house.

  • The brother has 80% interest in the property and normally pays 80% of costs.
    [This is comparable to the Federal transportation funds administered by our region.]
  • The sister has 20% interest in the property and normally pays 20% of the costs.
    [This is like the State transportation funding we receive.]
  • Sometimes Mom pitches in, to help them pay for projects on the house.
    [We may receive a local match or special earmarks for transportation projects.]
  • The sister shares responsibility for the property and cares about its upkeep. She gives her advice and helps make decisions.
    [PennDOT works closely with SPC, although SPC is responsible for setting priorities.]
  • The brother’s wife and kids live with him and have their own ideas about the house. He discusses plans with them, and they may influence his decisions.
    [We listen to the needs of Counties, Cities, Boroughs, and Townships.]

Plan ahead!

For the home, they develop a budget. (For transportation, we adopt a long-range plan.)

What do they need or want?

  • New roof?
  • Replace windows?
  • Replace carpet?
  • New furnace?
  • Update kitchen?
  • New siding?
  • Update bathroom?
  • Build a deck?
  • Reconstruct driveway?

How much money will they have to spend and when will it be available? Not including their many other financial obligations, what can the owners afford to spend on home maintenance and improvements?

Suppose a 10-year plan…

Suppose a ten-year plan:

Money Image

Approximately how much will each proposed project cost?

New Roof
Money Image
Replace Windows
Money ImageMoney Image
Replace Carpet
Money Image
New Furnace
Money Image
Update Kitchen
Money ImageMoney ImageMoney ImageMoney Image
New Siding
Money ImageMoney Image
Update Bathroom
Money ImageMoney Image
Build A Deck
Money Image
Reconstruct Driveway
Money Image

Not enough money! Tough choices.

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What’s essential? And how soon will it be necessary?

  • Replace furnace first. It’s getting old; they can’t let it fail.
  • Replace windows two years later. Save on fuel bills.
  • Replace roof the fourth year. It should last until then.
  • New siding two years later. Important maintenance.
  • Major driveway reconstruction in the seventh year.
  • Update bathroom in the ninth year. It can wait.
  • Build deck in the tenth year. Use old patio till then.

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Some projects were on the list, but don’t fit into the budget:

  • Update kitchen
  • Replace the carpet — no, just shampoo the old

…unless they find more money.

  • Is Mom going to pitch in on these projects? Can Cousin Harry do some of the work?
    [In transportation, we look for a local match.]
  • Home improvement loan? Will the owners qualify? Can they afford the interest?
    [Special bond issue for transportation.]
  • Ask Uncle Joe to help pay? Can he afford it? Does he like the plans?
    [New tax revenue or other new sources for transportation.]

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Next, the budget for the first stage

For transportation funding, we develop the TIP. This is a specific strategy for the first four years of the long-range plan.

  • Make specific choices regarding the furnace…
    model, contractor, actual cost, schedule the work.
  • Think about the new windows and the roof, even though they can’t be installed
    immediately.
    Compare costs, styles, and contractors. [This is like the engineering phase of a transportation project.]
  • Did they decide to take out a loan? Or did Uncle Joe come through? If so, perhaps another
    project can start sooner. If not, they stick to their plan and their budget.
  • The owners have to agree on the plan and budget for it.
    [SPC develops and adopts a Long-Range Plan and TIP, to allocate federal and state
    transportation funds. Following the project priorities set by SPC, PennDOT develops a STIP and
    12-Year Program which incorporate SPC’s TIP, allocating state transportation funds.]

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More family parallels:

  • Family members in your own household may not always agree.
    You are the one who has to decide on a responsible plan and you want everyone to have some satisfaction.
  • Some projects are for the good of all…but they’re not necessarily the most exciting.
    Roof, furnace, windows, siding, driveway
  • Some projects please one family member more than others.
    Kitchen, bathroom, deck, carpet

Discuss the budgeting problem. Outline the realities. Agree on priorities.

Some people are satisfied sooner . . . some later.

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