On July 17, WeConservePA sent the following letter to the Biden-Harris Administration, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, asking for their support for the application by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the 2023 Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program (WCPP) for the Pennsylvania Statewide Wildlife Crossing Strategic Plan. This grant program would provide much needed financial aid for the development of a strategic plan for wildlife crossings and ecological connectivity, and the development of a set of analytical tools to help PennDOT and its partners make better investment decisions to improve roadway safety and protect wildlife.
July 17, 2023
The Honorable Pete Buttigieg
Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
Re. Pennsylvania Wildlife Crossing Strategic Plan and Analysis Tools Development
Dear Secretary Buttigieg:
On behalf of the 70 member organizations of WeConservePA and their more than 100,000 Pennsylvania members, I am writing to express strong support for the application by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the 2023 Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program (WCPP) for the Pennsylvania Statewide Wildlife Crossing Strategic Plan. This planning grant would result in the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for wildlife crossings and ecological connectivity in Pennsylvania and the development of a set of analytical tools to help PennDOT and its partners make better investment decisions to improve roadway safety and protect wildlife.
With more vehicle miles being traveled each year, Pennsylvania’s wildlife face ever increasing challenges in navigating through their habitats. Wildlife crossings provide critical areas and structures which allow animals to cross safely either under or over busy highways.
PennDOT is committed to continuously improving highway safety. Selecting the correct locations and building the proper structures can help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by as much as 90%. Well sited structures have the potential to reduce property damage and reduce the rates of injuries and death in collisions.
The Pennsylvania Statewide Wildlife Crossing Strategic Plan will be the first step in reducing wildlife crashes and improving wildlife movement by creating a prioritized list of corridors for crossing improvements. The plan would be developed through a consensus-building approach, engaging all key stakeholders to result in a high degree of collaboration and ownership for plan implementation. The value of this project will extend to many participating organizations and to many Pennsylvania communities.
The proposal recognizes the substantial benefit of improving wildlife crossings in the Commonwealth and the safety benefits that will result. The prioritized corridors will provide the Department and its planning partners with the ability to plan and implement future wildlife crossing projects. Through a collaborative effort, we will work to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions and improve the connectivity for the wildlife of Pennsylvania. WeConservePA supports this application and thanks you for your consideration in funding this strategic investment.
We thank and applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for your leadership in passing the historic BIL legislation that makes investments like the Wildlife Strategic Plan possible.
Brad Barkdoll, MPA