TOP STORIES

GOP tax bills also involve infrastructure

The always insightful Governing Magazine had an article this week observing that the Republican-sponsored tax bills before Congress are also infrastructure bills because they contain provisions that would impact the ability of… [read more]

GOP tax bills also involve infrastructure GOP tax bills also involve infrastructure

Wolf rejects diverting more transportation funds

Transportation advocates appear to have received great news this week as a spokesman for Governor Wolf said the governor does not intend to tap into transportation money to close a $300 million budget gap. In recognition of… [read more]

Wolf rejects diverting more transportation funds Wolf rejects diverting more transportation funds

PA revenue package approved, but questions remain

Nearly four months beyond the beginning of the fiscal year, the General Assembly has approved revenue bills that – at least in theory – will balance the budget of nearly $32 billion that was approved earlier this year. Assuming… [read more]

PA revenue package approved, but questions remain PA revenue package approved, but questions remain

Senator John Rafferty to Speak at Dec. 12 PHIA Breakfast

  The Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) will host another policy briefing breakfast on December 12, 2017, featuring Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty. Senator John C. Rafferty,… [read more]

Senator John Rafferty to Speak at Dec. 12 PHIA Breakfast Senator John Rafferty to Speak at Dec. 12 PHIA Breakfast

NEWS & UPDATES

News

Rafferty discusses transportation issues at PHIA event

December 12, 2017 -- Leave a Comment

Senate Transportation Chair John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) discussed a variety of transportation issues this week before a friendly crowd at PHIA’s final policy breakfast of the year.

Among Senator Rafferty’s points:

  • Act 89 has increased PennDOT’s bridge and highway budget to $2.4 billion per year from $1.5 billion before passage in 2013, but keeping transportation dollars for their intended purpose has been a challenge.
  • One of the ways to keep transportation dollars where they belong is to reduce reliance on the Motor License Fund to support State Police and find a way to replace that money in the State Police budget.
  • The project near and dear to his heart is a $100 million six-lane bridge on 422 over the Schuylkill in Valley Forge that will relieve congestion and spur development in much of the Philadelphia region. Replacement of the two-lane span is expected to be completed in spring of 2020.
  • He would also like to see an earlier end to the Act 44 Turnpike subsidies to non-Turnpike transportation needs than the current 2022 expiration date.
  • PA needs to strengthen DUI laws to discourage drunken driving and encourage people with drinking problems to get help.
  • The General Assembly still needs to reach consensus on automated speed enforcement in work zones. He believes that if the House adopted the Senate version of the legislation, the governor would quickly sign the bill.
  • Bipartisan efforts are putting Pennsylvania in position to maintain a leadership role in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Look for the next PHIA breakfast in the first quarter of next year.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 48

December 11, 2017 -- Leave a Comment

Rep. Shuster honored with AAR award

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and industry advocacy group GoRail recently presented Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) with its Railroad Achievement Award. The award recognizes Congress members who show bipartisan leadership on issues pertaining to the rail industry and who recognize the role railways play in the U.S. economy.

PennDOT announces the completion of bike lanes on 3 state highways

In its ongoing effort to enhance the bicycle experience across the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has completed new bicycle lanes on three suburban state highways in the Philadelphia region.

Administration’s infrastructure plans point to 2018 investment debates

President Donald Trump’s administration this week confirmed it will provide its long-anticipated infrastructure proposal to Congress in January. The federal package would be split into four buckets: funding for states and localities that promise to take on more of the financial burden of infrastructure building and upkeep; block grants for rural areas; existing federal loan programs; and money for high-impact, “transformational” projects.

Penn researchers are using Grand Theft Auto to help test self-driving cars

The popular video game Grand Theft Auto is helping Penn researchers test new autonomous vehicle technology. Rahul Mangharam, an associate professor in Penn’s Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, is leading a team of six to test an autonomous driving software.

Tea Party insurgent weighs another bid to oust GOP Transportation chair

Tea party insurgent Art Halvorson is weighing yet another bid to oust veteran Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), he told The Hill. Halvorson unsuccessfully challenged Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in the past two election cycles, including running as a Democrat in the 2016 general election after Shuster narrowly won the GOP primary.

Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls going up again in January

Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are scheduled to go up 6 percent early next month in what will mark the 10th straight year of rate increases along the nation’s oldest superhighway.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 47

December 4, 2017 -- Leave a Comment

Beyond roundabouts, PennDOT plans diverging diamond interchanges

If PennDOT rocked the boat when it began building roundabouts, expect things to get even stranger when diverging diamond interchanges start appearing in the midstate over the next few years.

Start gathering your identifying documents now for 2019 REAL ID rollout, PennDOT says

As PennDOT brings its driver-licensing systems in line with the federal “REAL ID” standards, the agency is urging residents to start gathering the required identifying documents now or check with the state in a few months to see if they’re already on file.

5 things to know about the stretch of I-78 slated for $175 million project

If you’ve ever driven west of the Lehigh Valley on Interstate 78, then you know how the large expressway shape-shifts as you enter Berks County. Elevations change, curves become curvier and an encroaching claustrophobia takes hold. Suddenly the tractor trailers sharing the road seem too close for comfort.

Uncertainty mounts over timing of Trump’s infrastructure plan

Uncertainty is growing on Capitol Hill over whether the Trump administration will immediately turn to an infrastructure package after Congress finishes tax reform. President Trump has promised to unveil his long-awaited rebuilding plan after taxes, but he may be eager to first revisit the health-care debate, according to a top Republican. Read more

News

PennDOT lets $198 million in November

November 29, 2017 -- Comments Off on PennDOT lets $198 million in November

PennDOT let just over $198 million projects during the month of November according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  With this letting, PennDOT has let just over $2 billion in project lettings to date.  At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $2.346 billion in projects.  The official 2016 year-end total was $2.594 billion just shy of PennDOT’s $2.6 billion forecast. PennDOT anticipates a $2.4 billion letting program by year’s end.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full November letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

November Letting Report* (PDF)

 

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 46

November 27, 2017 -- Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 46

PennDOT pares list of structurally deficient bridges

As far back as the early years of the Gov. Ed Rendell administration, PennDOT District 12 Executive Joseph Szczur “knew we had a tidal wave of bad bridges coming our way.”

Sen. Rafferty, PennDOT Secretary Richards provide update on construction of new U.S. 422 bridge

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr., (R-44) joined PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards and various government officials at a November 17 news conference announcing the expedited delivery of a new and improved U.S. 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River, which spans West Norriton Township and Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County.

Pennsylvanians take to the road, rails and sky for holiday

Pennsylvanians are hitting the roads, rails and airports for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Pennsylvania Turnpike says more than 3.5 million cars and trucks will use the toll road during the six-day holiday period.