PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8

January 26, 2015

PHIA_LOGOPennDOT to study creating Northeast Pennsylvania transit authority
Northeast Pennsylvania public transit riders may eventually take buses directly between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, rather than having to transfer to a different bus in Pittston to make the trip.

Lackawanna and Luzerne County officials envision new travel options — like a direct bus link between the cities — among many benefits of merging several mass transit agencies in both counties into a single Lackawanna-Luzerne Regional Transportation Authority.

Pennsylvania’s Act 89: A Year of Economy-Building Road Work
Pennsylvania has been the poster child for deteriorating U.S. transportation infrastructure, but many states now consider emulating its Act 89 — year-old legislation that is addressing Pennsylvania road and bridge woes.

Act 89 went into effect on January 1, 2014. It is a user fee increase expected to add $2.3 to $2.4 billion to infrastructure revenue annually by its fifth year. The legislation kept vehicle registration and license fees low and rolled the flat gas tax of 12 cents that had been charged at the pump into the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT) charged at wholesale. It removed the artificial cap on the OCFT over the course of five years.

Trucking Company Plans CNG Station in Pennsylvania
Iowa-based W.W. Transport, through its Great River Energy LLC subsidiary, has proposed to install a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Pennsylvania.

According to a report from The Morning Call, W.W. Transport says the station would help the company convert 30 of its vehicles servicing a local flour mill to CNG. The transportation services firm, which won a grant from the Pennsylvania government, wants to build the facility in Lower Mount Bethel Township in order to fuel its own trucks, as well as to offer CNG to the public. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7

January 19, 2015

PHIA_LOGOCumberland County passes $5-per-vehicle fee to raise money for bridge repairs
The registration fee is expected to raise about $1.1 million annually to help pay for county bridge repairs. It goes into effect April 1 and will be collected by the state Department of Transportation as part of the annual vehicle registration application process.

TRC to Support Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Program
TRC Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRR) has been awarded a $26 million contract to provide construction engineering inspection services for more than 500 bridges throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The project is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Rapid Bridge Replacement program, a public-private-partnership to repair aging and deficient infrastructure quickly, cost effectively and with minimum impact to travelers. TRC will perform the work for the project’s development entity, Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners.

$899M deal inked to fix bridge across state, including many in Western Pa.
The PennDOT and the Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners team reached an agreement on a final contract for 558 bridges statewide Monday, PennDOT officials said. PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch called the agreement the “most ambitious public-private partnership initiative to date.”

Montco’s Richards tapped by Wolf as Pa. transportation secretary
Richards, 47, who began her career in civil engineering, has helped secure and steer millions of dollars in federal, state and local transportation funds across Southeastern Pennsylvania in recent years.

What do congressional Republicans think of raising the gasoline tax?
With a long-term funding fix for the federal highway system looming large on their to-do list, congressional Republicans gathered Thursday in a state where GOP legislators recently hiked taxes on gasoline — and still have benefited from a national plunge in gas prices. Read more


PHIA welcomes nomination of Leslie Richards as PennDOT secretary

January 14, 2015

RichardsGovernor-elect Tom Wolf today nominated Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards as PennDOT secretary and announced that current Secretary Barry Schoch would be retained in a temporary role as a transportation and infrastructure policy senior adviser in the governor’s office.

Richards, vice chair of the board of commissioners, also serves on the SEPTA board and is vice chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. She has an impressive private-sector resume as well, as a senior project manager at a civil engineering firm, where she gained experience with managing multi-million dollar infrastructure projects such as bridge rehabilitation, road repairs, streetscape improvements and other types of projects.

“Ms. Richards brings excellent qualifications and a great balance of private-sector and public-policy experience to this important cabinet-level job, and she was a vocal supporter of Act 89, the transportation funding measure that was passed in November 2013,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner.

Richards is a graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in economics and urban studies. She received a master’s of regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Richards and her husband, Ira, have lived in Whitemarsh Township for 19 years. They have three children, Ben, Sophie, and Rebecca. Additional biographical information is available here.

“We also applaud the move to keep Secretary Schoch involved to assist with the continuing implementation of Act 89 and to assist the secretary-designee as needed,” Wagner said. “Transportation issues traditionally draw strong bipartisan support in Pennsylvania, and we’re pleased that the new administration is continuing that approach.”



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6

January 12, 2015

PHIA_LOGOTolls have increased on the PA Turnpike
PA Turnpike Spokesperson, Carl DeFebo says, “It helps to pay for the operation and maintenance and capital improvements of our turnpike system but it also helps to finance transportation throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Even with the 5-percent increase, EZ Pass customers continue to save as much as 35-percent compared to cash paying customers.

Yudichak wants economic stimulus programs expanded
Looking back, Yudichak said the piece of legislation from the 2013-2014 session that will have a lasting impact on life in Pennsylvania is the transportation bill.

“The transportation bill is the significant achievement of the Corbett administration,” Yudichak said. “This will be a lasting legacy — it was a bipartisan effort to invest in job creation in Pennsylvania. Everyone is for Pennsylvania residents to make a living wage.”

Behind the Headlines February 2, 2015 Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy
Bob Latham of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors discusses transportation improvements in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s newest House members pledge focus on transit
The two newest members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation are pledging their attention to issues such as upgrading the state’s roads, bridges and rail service and improving health care at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs facility.


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January 7, 2015

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