Emergency flood projects drive active November

November 30, 2011

PennDOT lets $98 million in projects

The state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) bid just over $98 million in projects in November bringing the year-to-date total to $1.549 billion. At this same time last year, PennDOT had let $1.78 billion.

PennDOT finished the 2010 calendar year with approximately $2.2 billion in lettings. PennDOT initially forecasted the 2011 year to see $1.7 billion in lettings, which was the level of the program back in 2006-07. PennDOT made a 2012 construction year forecast at $1.5 billion due to the expiration of the federal Economic Stimulus payments as well as a decrease in state funding and stagnant federal funding. For more information regarding the department’s forecast you can view Dep. Secretary Scott Christie’s presentation at the annual APC Fall Seminar by going here. To put into perspective, PennDOT’s lettings were $2.8 billion in 2009 due to the billion dollars in economic stimulus funds.

To view the full 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 updates.


PennDOT forecasts diminished 2012 highway construction program

November 21, 2011

PennDOT Deputy Secretary Scott Christie last week outlined the department’s projected 2012 construction program during an annual gathering of the highway construction industry. And, the news wasn’t good.

While lettings this year will exceed the original projections of approximately $1.9 billion, Christie put the 2012 forecast at a maximum $1.5 billion in lettings, a decrease of more than 20 percent.

Given its diminishing resources, PennDOT will focus on “preservation of the network” in 2012 and plans to bid only six projects exceeding $20 million, with a potential of adding eight more if circumstances warrant.

Christie was quick to add that the $1.5 billion figure would increase to about $2 billion if the state enacts a comprehensive funding package soon, due to the department’s ability to bond against future anticipated revenues.

Also addressing the gathering of approximately 1,500 people at the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Fall Conference was PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, who outlined elements of a funding proposal that would generate additional short and long-term funding. Schoch indicated that a key component of the plan would be to systematically increase the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax in out years when the economy improves, but that short-term bonding could be used to generate immediate funds.

While the specifics of such funding proposal are still being vetted with the state legislature, Schoch indicated that the passage of a funding proposal is still within reach. He said Gov. Tom Corbett is working on the specifics of making a funding-package announcement, which could come as early as this week.


Poll shows broad support for addressing funding problem

November 4, 2011

A Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows that a majority of Pennsylvania voters rate the transportation funding issue as either the most important or one of the most important issues now facing the Commonwealth.

The issue outpolled the Marcellus Shale tax, school vouchers, liquor store privatization and electoral vote distribution in terms of importance. Perhaps of even greater significance is that only 8 percent of those surveyed said the transportation finding issue is not important.

The Associated Pennsylvania Constructors commented on the poll results in a news release distributed earlier this week. To view the news release, click here.