Kurt Myers to Speak at May 23 PHIA Breakfast
The Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) will host another policy briefing breakfast on May 23, 2017, featuring PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers. Mr. Myers was appointed Deputy Secretary for Driver &… [read more]
Committee concludes PA should restore more than $220 million for highway work
The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee has released the long-awaited report determining the appropriate and justifiable amount of Motor License Fund revenue that can be used to fund State Police operations. Using… [read more]
The times they are a-changin’
Although we are and always have been the Pa. Highway Information Association, we tend to take a broad view of transportation, thinking of it as a single, integrated, multi-modal system of mobility. This month, Governing Magazine… [read more]
Driverless technology advances in Pennsylvania
While engineers and auto manufacturers continue to work on driverless technology, Pennsylvania is beginning work on the regulations that will guide this fledgling industry. PennDOT assembled an Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy… [read more]
‘Free’ police coverage has a high price tag
In the last few weeks, editorials and op-ed articles have appeared in newspapers around the state in reaction to the Associated Press story about “free” state police coverage. The AP noted that nearly half of Pennsylvania’s… [read more]
NEWS & UPDATES
Officials with PennDOT and the Cambria County Transit Authority celebrated the opening of the commonwealth’s newest compressed natural gas fueling station in Johnstown.
The facility is the first of 29 CNG stations Love’s Trillium CNG will design, build and maintain for numerous transit authorities in Pennsylvania as part of a public-private partnership contract PennDOT awarded to the company last year.
Fewer people died in Pennsylvania traffic crashes in 2016 than in any year since record-keeping began in 1928. According to PennDOT, 1,088 fatal crashes claimed 1,188 lives last year, down from 1,200 deaths in 1,102 fatal crashes in 2015.
There are many reasons for the improvement, from less driving under the influence to improving vehicle and highway safety engineering.
Construction on Interstate 95 in the Philly area will continue well through the next decade — maybe longer, especially if the city gets its wish and adds a capping project connecting the city with the Delaware River over a piece of the highway.
But there’s always some good news: PennDOT’s making progress on a number of projects along 95 and hopes to wrap up several this year, including opening ramps near Fishtown and completing construction near Cottman Avenue.
Pittsburgh is one of two U.S. cities where you can ride in a self-driving car. It’s home to decades of autonomous vehicle work at CMU.
But there are no state laws specific to testing self-driving cars (yet). And there’s no designated person or entity considered the main resource on the technology.
So who is educating Pittsburghers about this technology and its impact? Right now, the bulk of public awareness falls to PennDOT.
Republican House Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor spoke this week at a PHIA Policy Breakfast, briefing attendees on state budget deliberations and weighing in on the State Police funding issue.
Saylor’s mantra has been about the need to reshape state government, which he said would be a four or five-year process to realign programs and services and phase out activities that prevent the Commonwealth from living within its means.
On the State Police funding issue, he said his preference would be to require municipalities with a population of at least 10,000 to pay the full cost of state police protection if they have no local police protection. That cost has been estimated at around $230 per resident per year.
The event had been rescheduled because of the March snowstorm. The organization hopes to schedule two additional breakfast briefings before the end of June.
Over the past 40 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has spent nearly $120 million on design, redesign, environmental impact statements and other elements for the proposed last leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.
That 14-mile segment from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville, which has a revised completion estimate of $2 billion, was put on hold last month by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. The planning commission will decide in June whether the project continues or gets placed back on the shelf, where the former turnpike commission chairman predicted last year it would die.
PennDOT today announced that traffic deaths in Pennsylvania reached a record low in 2016 with 1,188 fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways last year, a new low since record keeping began in 1928.
While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in run-off the road, hit fixed object, and drinking driver fatalities. Fatalities in run-off the road crashes dropped from 580 in 2015 to 518. Hit fixed object fatalities also decreased from 459 in 2015 to 401 last year. Deaths attributed to drinking-driver-related crashes declined to 263, down from 306 in 2015.
For local drivers who deal daily with heavy Interstate 81 traffic, major help isn’t on the way any time soon.
The long-discussed widening of I-81 to three lanes for more than 30 miles north and south between the Clarks Summit and Nanticoke interchanges remains dependent on funding that so far doesn’t exist, experts made clear at a Focus 81 meeting Wednesday. Read more
Pennsylvania State troopers have a message for drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike — Slow down, pay attention or you will pay.
The speeding sting stems from a tragic loss. Nearly three years ago, a Pennsylvania Turnpike worker was killed near the Downingtown Exit because someone was speeding. Since then, State Police have been conducting speeding stings to prevent workers from being injured or killed.
Texas had high hopes for the southern segments of SH 130, a 41-mile stretch of the high-speed toll road east of San Antonio. A pair of investors stepped forward and offered what sounded like a great deal: Texas would get a big check for turning the rights to build and operate the toll road over to a private entity, a move that would give the state a new highway and a share of the tolls.
But a decade after Texas and its partners first shook hands, the corporation running the road is in bankruptcy — with more than $430 million still owed to U.S. taxpayers — and more than a billion owed to other investors, too.
Governor Tom Wolf joined representatives from PennDOT to launch the 2017 construction season and announce major investments in road improvements throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Due to Act 89, the state’s transportation plan, northeastern Pennsylvania will see a significant increase in the amount of work taking place this year to improve the transportation network for the region.
It’s difficult to argue the Pennsylvania State Police is not worth the money state taxpayers spend for the wide-reaching protection.
With reduced numbers and a wide coverage area, the State Police faces increasing challenges of covering areas that do not feature local law enforcement agencies as more municipalities fall under its umbrella.
However, as the state’s infrastructure — from roads to bridges to ports — continues to crumble, the practice of siphoning money out of the Motor License Fund is a matter of concern.
Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, has been calling for a state charge to municipalities without local police forces for Pennsylvania State Police coverage for nearly 15 years, to no avail. What’s different this time? He has a powerful ally.
Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed implementing a $25-per-person fee for state police coverage in un-policed townships and boroughs in his $32.3 billion 2017-18 budget.
PA House Republicans this week introduced a proposed state budget that counters the proposal put forth several weeks ago by Governor Wolf.
The good news is that the administration and lawmakers are closer from the outset than they have been in the past. Additional good news is that both versions call for reducing the amount of revenue that has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support State Police operations.
The governor proposed a $63 million cut in money diverted from the Motor License Fund, which is the constitutionally created source for most of PennDOT’s operations and highway construction and maintenance. The governor proposed to offset the reduction to State Police by imposing a $25 per capita fee on municipalities that rely solely on the State Police for community policing. Read more