PennDOT lets nearly $400 in projects during May

May 29, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting nearly $400 million in projects during May, bringing the year-to-date total to just under $1.2 billion. 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.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full May letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

May Letting Report* (PDF)

*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.




PHIA News Digest – Vol. 25

May 26, 2015

PDSITELOGOPennsylvania rural roads among most deficient in U.S., report concludes
The nation’s rural road and bridge network is deficient and often dangerous, and Pennsylvania is among the leaders in deficient bridges, poor pavements and fatalities on those roads, according to a national report released Tuesday.

Pennsylvania had the nation’s highest percentage of deficient rural bridges; it ranked 17th in the fatality rate on rural roads; and it was 20th in the U.S. with 18 percent of its rural pavements in poor condition, according to the report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” by TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research organization based in Washington, D.C.

Shuster responds to passage of Highway and Transportation Funding Act
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) released a statement regarding yesterday’s passage of his legislation, H.R. 2353, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015.

“This legislation is a short-term patch necessary to get to the long-term surface transportation bill that Southwestern Pennsylvanians and the rest of the nation are calling for and need,” Shuster said. “The American people want a long-term transportation bill, our businesses want it, and I am confident that there’s a strong will in Congress to get it done.”

Digital-Age Transportation: The Future of Urban Mobility
Incredible innovations within the transportation sector are being driven by the growing recognition that cars, once synonymous with freedom and ease of mobility, have become a victim of their own success. In cities around the world, congestion is undermining mobility, imposing huge costs not just on commuters or people out to run a simple errand but on society as a whole. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average American commuter spent 34 hours delayed in traffic in 2010, up from 14 hours in 1982. If things don’t change, commuters can expect to spend more than 40 hours annually sitting in traffic by 2020. All told, the annual cost of congestion in America alone now exceeds $100 billion. Read more


House approves another short-term funding fix

May 22, 2015

congress progressThis week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a short-term highway funding extension. The extension will be the 33rd short-term fix since 2008 and will authorize funding through July 31.

While short-term extensions have been accurately portrayed as Band-aids on bullet holes, the extra time gives Congress a chance to put together a more comprehensive solution for long-term funding. Many view this as a more pragmatic move than attempting to force an imperfect bill through Congress on a tight deadline. It also is viewed as better than a six-month extension, which would let the issue fester and possibly spill into an election year.

The Obama administration introduced a six-year funding proposal with a $478 billion price tag, but with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, most observers believe that is unlikely to be the vehicle for long-term highway funding. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 24

May 18, 2015

PDSITELOGOPennsylvania DOT co-hosts high friction surface treatment demonstration
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) highlighted the effectiveness of high friction surface treatments (HFST) in speedy application and improving friction qualities of pavements during a recent demonstration in North Cornwall Township. HFST involves using long lasting and water-resistant aggregates to increase tire “grip” on pavements to minimize slippage and improve stopping time in wet conditions. The goal also is to use fast-setting materials with these aggregates in creating the pavements so as to have a “minimal impact to the traveling public.”

Pennsylvania Is Making Its Roads Safer and Not In the Way You’d Think
The Keystone State is limiting accidents on wet pavement by increasing road friction.

Pennsylvania’s roadways are getting safer with the application of a pavement surface treatment designed to improve vehicles’ grip on roadways.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and State Transportation Innovation Council recently demonstrated the high-friction surface treatment, TyreGrip, which has already been applied in 42 “high-priority crash locations” statewide.

Senate OKs Leslie Richards as transportation chief
The state Senate unanimously voted Monday to confirm the nomination of the former Montgomery County commissioner as the head of the state transportation agency.

Pennsylvania Extends Alt-Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced the continuation of the state’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program, which provides rebates of up to $2,000 to help Pennsylvanians buy alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

“Alternative energy options are central to making Pennsylvania’s environment beautiful and sustainable for years to come,” says acting DEP Secretary John Quigley. “We encourage everyone to consider these renewable and clean technologies.”

According to the DEP, the program was established under Act 178 of 2004 to help reduce Pennsylvania’s dependence on imported oil and to improve the environmental quality by using alternative fuels. The agency, which last extended the program at the end of December, will continue to offer rebates for a full range of AFVs. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 23

May 11, 2015

PDSITELOGOGreene residents deserve better roads
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission released a report looking at several aspects of the state’s bridges and roads, and found almost 9,000 miles of road within the commonwealth were rated as “poor” and are in need of work.

While there were improvements noted in driver safety, the report also found 35 percent of bridges in Pennsylvania were structurally deficient and a full half of Interstate highways in the commonwealth surpassed the volume of traffic they were originally designed to carry.

In a 21st century economy, we need a 21st century infrastructure.

This is the first licensed self-driving truck. There will be many more.
Last night at the Hoover Dam, the Freightliner company unveiled its Inspiration Truck: the first semi-autonomous truck to get a license to operate on public roads.

The Inspiration is now licensed to drive autonomously on highways in Nevada. It works a bit like a plane’s autopilot system: a driver will get the rig on the highway, and can take control at any time once it’s there. But the truck will be able to drive itself at high speeds, using cameras to make sure it stays within its lane and doesn’t get too close to the vehicle in front of it.

Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty
The impact of transportation on social mobility is stronger than several other factors, like crime, elementary-school test scores or the percentage of two-parent families in a community, said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the researchers on the study. It notes the connection in places with notoriously long commutes and poverty including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala. Read more