TOP STORIES

Safety, funding measures top 2019 highway issues

In our final edition of E-motion for 2019, we reflect on the public policy highlights of this year. At the top of the list was the enactment of the automated speed enforcement measure. The pilot program began in the fall with… [read more]

Safety, funding measures top 2019 highway issues Safety, funding measures top 2019 highway issues

Task force unveils transportation funding proposals

A PA House Republican task force whose mission was to address transportation funding needs has finished its assignment and presented its report. The task force, chaired by Rep. Martina White of Philadelphia, made several recommendations,… [read more]

Task force unveils transportation funding proposals Task force unveils transportation funding proposals

Automated speed enforcement cameras are up and running

The 60-day clock has begun for the “pre-enforcement testing period” of automated speed cameras in Pennsylvania highway work zones. That means fines for traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit could begin… [read more]

Automated speed enforcement cameras are up and running Automated speed enforcement cameras are up and running

PHIA holds annual conference

This week PHIA held its annual Transportation Conference and Luncheon in Harrisburg. The presentations featured: PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton with an update on various toll road projects. Republican and Democratic House… [read more]

PHIA holds annual conference PHIA holds annual conference

Pa. autonomous vehicle team receives $8.4 million grant for work-zone study

A team consisting of Carnegie Mellon and Penn State universities, along with PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, has received an $8.4 million grant for testing and evaluation of integrating autonomous driving systems in work… [read more]

Pa. autonomous vehicle team receives $8.4 million grant for work-zone study Pa. autonomous vehicle team receives $8.4 million grant for work-zone study

NEWS & UPDATES

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 7

February 18, 2020 -- Leave a Comment

Rough roads: Pennsylvania facing tough decisions on transportation funding

Transportation funding will take center stage in Harrisburg in the coming weeks as officials face a Bermuda Triangle of issues that threaten the condition of local roads across Pennsylvania.

County detective, prosecutor will crack down Turnpike toll scofflaws

As part of the Turnpike’s efforts to crack down on drivers who are avoiding paying tolls, the agency that oversees more than 500 miles of highway in Pennsylvania has granted the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office $327,705.07 to investigate and prosecute fare evaders who rack up high bills between this year and the end of 2022.

‘Strike while it’s hot’: Somerset County to lobby for Route 219 completion

Somerset County Commissioners have hired a Washington, D.C., consultant with local ties to lobby the Route 219 project.

Pa. only state that doesn’t let local police use radar

Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Dauphin County, introduced House Bill 1686, which would allow local officers to use radar. It’s currently in the transportation committee and mirrors a similar measure under consideration in the state Senate.

PennDOT on mission to remind people of REAL ID deadline

PennDOT is ramping up its campaign to remind people that Oct. 1 is the deadline to comply with the federal government’s REAL ID program.

Editorial: Funding plan for Pennsylvania State Police falls far short

Meanwhile, state leaders are reducing the amount of money state police get from the motor license fund. It’s the right thing to do, as more proceeds from the gasoline tax and driver’s license and registration fees should be spent on the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Trump’s infrastructure budget big, bold and unlikely

BIG, BOLD AND UNLIKELY: The Trump administration released its proposed fiscal 2021 budget on Monday, but ultimately many of its proposals will be tossed out altogether at appropriations time.

IBTTA president, vice president take office

Samuel Johnson, chief toll operations officer for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, took office last month as president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA). Mark Compton was also elected to serve as IBTTA’s first vice-president. Compton is Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO and will serve as IBTTA president next year.

 

News

Federal budget proposal met with skepticism

February 14, 2020 -- Leave a Comment

The Trump administration released its proposed 2021 fiscal budget this week. The infrastructure piece of it was quite interesting, but it has already been met with skepticism as to whether it will fly in Congress.

As part of a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure investment, the budget proposes an $810 billion, 10-year surface transportation reauthorization. The House and Senate are working on five-year plans.

But as Politico asserted in an analysis on Tuesday:

The request says the 10-year bill will be funded with contract authority, but that’s not spendable money — it’s a budgetary tool that allows states or agencies to enter into binding contracts, which the federal government promises to pay back later, usually through appropriated money. There’s very little chance lawmakers would get on board with that (although, they haven’t had much luck figuring out how to fill the Highway Trust Fund themselves). 

“Politico’s prognosis for advancing any of the current proposals may sound cynical, but there’s been no evidence pointing to a scenario in which Congress and the administration can reach a consensus,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “And however one looks at transportation funding issues – federal and state – real solutions must be funded with real money. So far, there hasn’t been agreement on how or whether to do that.”

Politico’s analysis can be found at this link.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 6

February 11, 2020 -- Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 6

Feds break from policy, allow self-driving vehicle to bypass human-driver safety rule

For the first time, the U.S. government’s highway safety agency has approved a company’s request to deploy a self-driving vehicle that doesn’t need to meet the same federal safety standards for cars and trucks driven by humans.

Pennsylvania State Police sees decline in seatbelt use

According to state police, there were two fatal single-vehicle crashes last week, both of which involved people not wearing their seat belts.

Report: Sign advised lower speed in snowy turnpike bus crash

Light snow was falling during a bus crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that killed five people last month, and the bus had just passed a sign warning to keep below 55 mph (89 kph) on a curve, according to a preliminary investigative report released Thursday.

PennDOT to shift $3.15 billion from local roads to interstate improvements

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will shift $3.15 billion from local road projects to improvements on the interstate highways over the next nine years, a decision that has district officials scrambling to adjust their local maintenance plans to eliminate needed projects they can’t pay for.

Senate committee gives green light to sheltered bike lanes

The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, that changes state parking laws to permit protected bike and pedestrian lanes — lanes on public streets with barriers sheltering them from traffic.

PA officials conduct study on statewide littering, forming action plan to reduce it

Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful organization announced the results of a statewide litter research study on Wednesday.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 5

February 3, 2020 -- Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 5

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear OOIDA’s appeal of toll ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case petitioned by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) involving the group’s battle against what it considers to be excessive tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Cap and trade for your car? Pa. is looking at limiting transportation emissions

Gov. Tom Wolf is kicking the tires on cutting carbon emissions from commuters’ and truckers’ tail pipes, even if it could result in an increase to the Keystone State’s already high gas prices.

Public comment period for PennDOT’s Statewide Public Participation Plan now open

PennDOT announced that it will hold a 45-day public comment period on proposed updates to its Statewide Public Participation Plan, which will begin today and conclude on March 11.

 

News

Supreme Court rejects truckers’ Turnpike tolls appeal

January 29, 2020 -- Comments Off on Supreme Court rejects truckers’ Turnpike tolls appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal by an independent truck owner group that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission shouldn’t be allowed to collect tolls for non-turnpike costs.

The association claimed the turnpike overcharged for tolls because it has been required to give $450 million a year to the state Department of Transportation to help pay for public transportation services.  The truckers contended the payments were illegal.

In declining to hear the case, the court upheld lower federal court decisions. The payments will be reduced to $50 million annually beginning in 2023, and lawmakers are considering alternative funding sources for transit agencies.

You can read a news account of the court’s decision at this link.