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.


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