ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Pennsylvania's in a rut, and it's more than just problems with potholes.
Local politicians are trying to tackle the problem head on at this year's legislative session. We found while many around the area think it's a problem that needs fixing, the cost of that solution matters too.
Trucker Michael Minium's been driving Pennsylvania's roadways for more than two and a half decades.
"I can go to a different state and the roads are twice as better as what these are. A lot smoother, less wear and tear, you hit Pennsylvania, its pothole heaven."
Plenty of PA roads need repairs. The state's bridges rank last in the nation, and the PA Turnpike Commission's in more than Seven Billion dollars of debt. State Auditor General Jack Wagner says one problem is that more than 7,000 turnpike employees or contractors have driven the turnpike for free since 2006. That cost the state close to Eight Million dollars.
"I fully support an employee performing their work, or going to or from work, having free use of the turnpike. Beyond that, we think their policy is wrong."
State Senator John Wozniak (D-35th District) wants to improve things, and thinks the public should have a say.
"What are we going to do with our aging bridges? Maintenance over the mass transit system? Taking care of our rural transportation needs, and we really need to have an honest, upfront, unbiased discussion with the motary public."
Wozniak says there's been distrust in the past between politicians and the public.
"Too many times the public says here they go again, I think what's important now is they let us lay out what's important, where we came from, where we are, and where we need to go."
Minium doesn't trust promises from politicians.
"We pay more taxes, they get more money... It don't go into the roads"
Wozniak says their ideas can "...generate revenue, and limit the financial impact on the traveling public...", and while there's no word on a specific solution, those we talked to, like Stephanie Rhodes from Altoona, don't want it coming out of their wallet.
"If they were going to allot some money to fix the roads and bridges, would you be in favor of that?"
"Yes, I would..."
"What if it meant increasing your taxes?"
"Then probably not..."
No specific plans to fix the transportation problem have been announced as of now.
The 2013 Legislative Session starts in January.