Home > PA > Education, Careers & Opportunity > Transportation Assets Keep Pennsylvania Well Connected

Transportation Assets Keep Pennsylvania Well Connected

By air, highway, rail or water, the transportation infrastructure in Pennsylvania offers companies a major advantage.

By Kevin Litwin on May 25, 2023

Port of Philadelphia

The transportation infrastructure in Pennsylvania offers significant advantages in the “Big Four” – highway, rail, air and water – and thanks to new investment, those advantages are only getting stronger.

Companies moving goods have access to 120,000 miles of federal, state and local highways, including the 500-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike. The commonwealth is located within a day’s drive of nearly 40% of the U.S. population and 60% of the Canadian population, as well as four of the 10 largest markets in the U.S.

On The Move

Pennsylvania has 65 railroads – including Class I carriers – covering 5,600 miles and hauling more than 170 million tons of freight each year.

Also, six international airports move more than 600,000 tons of cargo annually and connect the state to markets all over the world.

In addition, three major ports provide access to the Atlantic Ocean (Philadelphia), the Gulf of Mexico (Pittsburgh) and the Great Lakes (Erie) for international importing and exporting.

As a result, Pennsylvania products and services are shipped around the globe and represent 8% of the state’s gross domestic product. On top of that, the U.S. International Trade Administration reports that the state exported $44.7 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2021, a nearly 20% increase over 2020.

Pittsburgh International Airport’s renovations are set to be complete by 2025.
Gensler + HDR/Luis Vidal + Architects

$16B in Upgrades

The transportation infrastructure in Pennsylvania is only going to get better. Over the next five years, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will deliver $16 billion to Pennsylvania to fund a variety of improvements and enhancements. The Keystone State already received $2 billion for highway construction and repairs in 2022, and another $11.3 billion will be allocated between 2023 and 2026 for road improvements.

In addition, Pennsylvania will receive more than $1.6 billion over the next five years for bridge replacement and rehabilitation. The IIJA will also provide funds for airport infrastructure upgrades and transit improvements.

“Our monumental transportation system carries approximately $1.6 trillion worth of goods into, within and out of our state annually, so all the infrastructure improvements coming from the IIJA funding is great news for everyone,” says Natasha Fackler, infrastructure implementation coordinator with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

“It also means good-paying jobs in several sectors. Investments in transportation are proven to create jobs in other sectors of the economy such as professional, scientific and technical services, health care, retail, and manufacturing.”

PennDOT oversees roads, bridges, three ports, 65 operating railroads and 121 public-use airports in the state, Fackler says, so the IIJA investment will be beneficial for our state’s infrastructure in multiple ways.

Exporting Leader

Exports are a critical component of the state’s economy, and the infrastructure improvements will only enhance that. In addition to the $44.7 billion worth of goods to markets worldwide in 2021, the state also exported $24.6 billion worth of services. One in five jobs in Pennsylvania depends on international trade.

Pennsylvania sells to 209 countries and territories around the world, and the $44.7 billion in exports during 2021 ranked the state 11th in the nation, says Jennifer Black, executive director for export development in the Pennsylvania Office of International Business Development (OIBD).

OIBD’s Export Development Program assists Pennsylvania companies in finding international business partners to increase their export sales.

Client companies that have been assisted by the program include Bella Lucia, CAB Products, DelGrosso Foods, DiamondBack Covers, Gilson Snow, ITSI-Biosciences, Pennwoods and Xact Metal.

The state is a major exporter of chemicals, computers and electronics, pharmaceutical products, machinery and transportation equipment.

“The Office of International Business Development’s export development program is one of the largest state-sponsored trade development programs in the U.S.,” Black says. “We work with more than 500 companies each year, providing them with confidential, personalized consulting services to expand their export networks.”

Array ( [0] => 162283 [1] => 162428 [2] => 162255 [3] => 162229 [4] => 162406 [5] => 119343 [6] => 119336 [7] => 119328 [8] => 119313 [9] => 80406 )
Array ( )
Array ( )
Array ( [0] => 162283 [1] => 162428 [2] => 162255 [3] => 162229 [4] => 162406 [5] => 119343 [6] => 119336 [7] => 119328 [8] => 119313 [9] => 80406 )

More To Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles!
Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.