Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor to Speak at April 19 PHIA Breakfast
The Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) has rescheduled its first policy briefing breakfast of the year which was canceled last week due to the snow. The new date for the breakfast is now set for April 19, 2017,… [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
Traffic disruptions begin Monday for about 53,000 motorists who use inbound Interstate 279/Parkway North as road crews prepare for a two-year, $87.9 million project to upgrade the highway between Camp Horne Road and the North Side.
Those traffic lights that tell you whether your E-ZPass was read properly at Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booths are going away. The turnpike commission on Friday started removing the red, yellow, and green feedback signal lights because they are now prohibited by federal guidelines.
If a measure pushed by Governor Tom Wolf, as well as some state lawmakers becomes law, small towns without dedicated police forces would be charged for the use of Pennsylvania State Police. The chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, State Representative Mike Sturla of Lancaster, said about 80 percent of taxpayers in the Commonwealth pay for local police forces.
Berks County may get a lot more bang than expected from its recently enacted $5 vehicle registration fee. PennDOT plans to match the money counties that enacted the fee spend on bridge projects up to $2 million a year, local transportation planners learned Thursday.
Berks expects to generate $1.3 million to $1.9 million annually through the fee, which is tacked onto state charges when a vehicle is registered. So, with the matching aid from the state, the county could double how much bridge work the fee revenue can buy. Read more
As the Wolf administration and lawmakers grapple with the State Police funding issue, data are beginning to illuminate the discussion.
First, we know that about half of Pennsylvania’s 2,562 municipalities do not have local or regional police coverage, relying instead on the State Police. Another 400-plus municipalities have part-time local police coverage and rely on State Police the rest of the time.
Last week, State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker told a Senate budget panel that it costs $600 million per year for his agency to provide full-time coverage to the nearly 1,300 municipalities that need it. Those municipalities are home to about 2.5 million Pennsylvanians.
Governor Wolf has proposed charging a $25 per resident fee in municipalities that rely strictly on the State Police. That approach would raise $63 million per year, to be restored to the Motor License Fund and used for highway projects instead of State Police operations, reducing the Motor License Fund’s support to $739 million. Read more
PennDOT let just over $294 million projects during the month of February according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC). With this letting, PennDOT has begun the new year (2017) with just over $376 in project lettings. At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $467.3 million 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 February letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.
*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.
Engineers say work to repair a major bridge that links Pennsylvania and New Jersey remains on track for it to reopen in about a month. Officials with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Friday good weather has helped speed work on the Interstate 276 bridge over the Delaware River. They’re optimistic the bridge won’t need to be partially reconstructed or completely replaced.
Jeff McLaughlin doesn’t hesitate to extol what he sees as the positive virtues of the new interchange that opened last week off Interstate 70 into New Stanton.
As manager of the Westmoreland County borough, Mr. McLaughlin is well aware of traffic congestion the old interchange caused for residents and firms like UPS, FedEx and SuperValu that have distribution warehouses there.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s decision to move the interchange 800 feet west, add longer entrance and exit ramps, install roundabouts and upgrade bridges on Center Avenue should have a positive effect, he said.
PennDOT has committed $100 million to the plan to cap I-95 in Center City, Billy Penn is reporting.
In today’s budget address, Mayor Jim Kenney called for $90 million in city funding over six years to cap I-95 in town and create a park between Chestnut and Walnut streets that would allow a greater connection between Center City and the Delaware waterfront.
Every year, a hefty portion of the budget for the state police comes from a fund that’s supposed go toward roads and bridges.
While the commonwealth has made some moves to fix that incongruous fiscal relationship, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they still need to find a replacement revenue source.
The state police drew more than $800 million of their $1.2 billion budget from the motor license fund this year. That’s almost 70 percent. Read more
It costs $600 million a year for state troopers to provide full-time police services in nearly 1,300 municipalities, the state police commissioner said Thursday at a Senate budget hearing. Commissioner Col. Tyree Blocker broke down the per-person — also known as per capita — cost at $234 annually for full-time services to 2.5 million Pennsylvania residents living in those municipalities.
Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing a $25 per person tax on municipalities without a police force to raise $63 million in funds for the state police, a plan bound to have its share of critics. It’s entirely understandable that those who lead municipalities that get their police protection for free from state police would resist any move to change that.
The biggest challenge when it comes to expanding the region’s transportation connections is funding.
Allocations from outside sources that helped ensure the completion of Route 219 from Somerset to Meyersdale have been discontinued by legislation, meaning PennDOT officials must stay within the funding distributed by the state each year.
With the support of PennDOT, a new steering committee has been formed to look at options for redeveloping Johnstown’s Train Station. In January, community stakeholders began working with project consultants to plan for possible futures for the historic station. Read more