PennDOT’s March Lettings Total $163 Million

March 31, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting over $163 million in projects let during March.  Last year, PennDOT ended the year with $2.6 billion in lettings, the highest since 2009 when the program was boosted by the one-time economic stimulus package.  PennDOT exceeded its initial 2014 estimate of $2.2 billion and it was reported earlier that PennDOT’s 2015 anticipated lettings will again be $2.6 billion.

At the end of 2013, PennDOT only bid $1.638 billion in lettings. Act 89 enabled PennDOT to put nearly a $1 billion more projects on the street in 2014 than it was able to do in 2013.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue well past 2015. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 17

March 30, 2015

PDSITELOGONation’s Mayors Call for More Federal Transportation Funding
The nation’s mayors are calling on Congress to increase transportation funding in order to keep roads and bridges in good repair.

The call came Monday during a task force meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city’s record-breaking snowfall this winter — which topped 9 feet — shows the importance of maintaining transportation infrastructure in urban centers.

Seventy-Seven Propane Buses for Pennsylvania School Fleet
Student Transportation Inc., d.b.a. Student Transportation of America Inc. (STA), has been awarded a new seven-year contract with Pine-Richland School District that will see the deployment of 77 propane autogas buses beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

PennDOT Announces Work Zone Awareness Week
When in posted work zones all motorists are required to have their headlights turned on. Drivers with daytime running lights still need to turn on headlights to activate taillights.

There will be speed monitoring devices in some work zones. Motorists are reminded that there could be a loss of license for driving dangerously in a work zone. Fines are also doubled in active work zones. Read more


Work Zone Awareness Week begins today

March 23, 2015

NatWZAPoster-Today marks the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week, and PHIA – along with PennDOT and the construction industry – join again to urge the public to slow down and pay attention as the 2015 construction season begins.

While we are all thankful for the passage of Act 89, the transportation funding measure, it brought with it the challenge of an increasing number of work zones across the Commonwealth. That means more lane restrictions, more people working in them and more drivers traveling through them.

“Some people think work zone safety is only about the construction workers,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “They think that if workers are not present in work zones, speed limits aren’t as important, and distractions are less of an issue.”

However, he noted, according to the Federal Highway Administration drivers and passengers constitute 85 percent of the fatalities caused by accidents in work zones.

“Whether construction workers are present or not, lane restrictions create challenges to drivers,” Wagner said. “Drivers have less time to react, and less space for maneuvering. Slowing down and eliminating distractions reduces the margin for errors.”

Wagner joined Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and others in a news conference kicking off the awareness campaign. To read about the event, click here.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 16

March 23, 2015

PDSITELOGOAct 89, a transportation pot o’ gold for PA
Everyone loves Act 89, at least that was the attitude of lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation during a Tuesday budget hearing for PennDOT.

In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day, to hear how Act 89 was described during the House Appropriations Committee’s Tuesday budget hearing for the Department of Transportation, the transportation funding law sounds like the proverbial “pot o’ gold.”

Pennsylvania commuters have it easy, researchers say
Compared to commuters in other states, a larger portion of Pennsylvanians commute alone and have relatively shorter trips to work. Researchers expected that, according to Penn State Data Center analyst Jennifer Shultz.

What they did not anticipate: Pennsylvania workers seem to have an earlier afternoon commute, compared to other states such as New York, Schultz says.

Big Business to Feds: Give Us Sustainable Multi-Modal Transportation Funding
It feels like we were just here. The clock is winding down on federal surface transportation funding with MAP-21, the current funding package set to expire at the end of May and the Highway Trust Fund facing impending insolvency. That déjà vu stems from the fact that Congress just went through this last summer when they extended a nearly expired MAP-21 for 10 months, continuing the pattern of short-term funding patches that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says is, “literally killing [America’s] will to build.”

GOP chairman pronounces gas tax hike dead
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said Wednesday that Congress does not have the stomach for increasing the federal gas tax to help pay for a new transportation bill.

The idea of asking drivers to pay more at the pump than the current 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax has been floated by infrastructure advocates as lawmakers are scrambling to come up with a way to pay for an extension of the transportation funding bill that is currently set to expire in May.

Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project Achieves Financial Close
Granite Construction Incorporated (NYSE:GVA) is pleased to announce that Financial Close has been achieved on the $899 million Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, the first public-private partnership (P3) to bundle multiple bridges in a single procurement in the U.S. Granite anticipates booking its 40 percent share of the contract into backlog in the first quarter 2015.

Shuster Says Congress Won’t Embrace Increase in Gas Tax
The House of Representatives is rushing to find a way to extend the transportation funding bill that expires in May. But, if one thing’s for sure, raising the federal gas ta bx will not be the answer, said Rep. Bill Shuster on Thursday.

North American freight data for 2014 announced
As often happens with transportation data, there are many different stories emerging from the BTS spreadsheets. But, one story rings out loud and clear: A lot of freight –$1.2 trillion worth in 2014– is moving into and out of the U.S. across our northern and southern borders.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 15

March 16, 2015

PDSITELOGOU.S. Transportation Department Proposes Initiatives to Give Local Workers a Boost in Federal Investments
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a proposal for a new pilot program that will explore new ways to make it easier for states and cities to hire local residents for transportation projects. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Birmingham Mayor William Bell joined the Secretary for the announcement.

We Need to Start Thinking About Transportation Like We Do Food or Housing
If you’re struggling in the United States, some programs can help. You can sign up for cards to help you pay for groceries, vouchers to help you with rent, and tax credits or Medicare for health insurance. Mostly, however, you can’t get help paying for your car, gas, bus fare, or train fare.

Record 10.8 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2014
Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation in 2014, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 58 years, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Avoidable Mistakes that Advocacy Leaders Make
In 2009, we decided to take a different approach to our transportation funding advocacy.  In 2013, that approach paid off in the form of a comprehensive funding package that increases transportation funding by more than $2 billion per year and for years to come.

Reps. Farenthold, Shuster talk transportation
Funding the American transportation system is a $640-billion question that Congress will try to grapple this year and one solution is giving state’s more power, the House Transportation Committee chairman said Wednesday in a visit to Corpus Christi.

State Leaders Call Out Federal Politicians to Fund Infrastructure Safety
Pennsylvania’s crumbling bridges are affecting public safety according to state leaders. Since the NBC10 Investigators exposed the problem, state politicians — including a former governor — have called out their federal counterparts to fund a fix.

Major transportation upgrades yet to come
An estimated $111 million will be spent on Act 89 projects in District 4-0 from January 2014 through this June, said Mr. May.

Statewide, Act 89 revenue generated $1.1 billion in additional spending on state and local roads and bridges, public transportation, Turnpike extension projects and dirt and gravel roads last year. The spending is expected to climb to $2.3 billion annually by 2019, according to PennDOT.