PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 31

July 6, 2015

PDSITELOGO2PennDOT head: Passenger rail to the Lehigh Valley not dead yet
Many have tried and failed to bring passenger rail traffic to the Lehigh Valley, but Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards said Tuesday she has not given up on the idea.

Richards, appearing at the Mack Truck Service Center in Allentown, said a long-term federal transportation bill would help the state begin to repair its deteriorated roads and bridges, and yes, maybe even restore its rail lines.

“I personally am interested in passenger rail and the governor has told me he’s interested as well,” Richard said during the Lehigh Valley’s annual transportation forum, hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. “A federal transit bill is critical if we want to make this a priority.”

Getting on track: Google set to add U.S. railroad crossings to apps, online maps
The Federal Railroad Administration announced Monday that Google has agreed to add the nation’s 250,000 railroad crossings to its mapping and mobile applications to make drivers more aware of their existence.

The government requested the action by Google and other providers of online mapping and direction-providing applications after seeing a sharp rise in crashes and fatalities at railroad crossings last year. Crashes were up nearly 9 percent and fatalities rose from 232 in 2013 to 270 last year, the first such increase this decade.

Highway worker protection bill clears Pa. Senate
Drivers who put the lives of Pennsylvania’s highway workers in danger would face tougher penalties under legislation passed Tuesday by the state Senate.

Senate Bill 887 calls for fines and penalties of more than $1,000 for reckless driving in work zones.

Spend on roads, bridges and rail: Former PA governor
This Fourth of July weekend, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is calling on the nation to “invest in our own future” by fixing highways, bridges, rails and airports across America.

Rendell, an avowed believer in infrastructure spending, renewed his call for the federal government to plow more public money into the U.S.’s aging transportation architecture.

 

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