PHIA News Digest – Vol. 76

May 23, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Costs of state police patrols create local tension
A long simmering controversy over communities that use Pennsylvania police for local protection is beginning to roil amid plans to raid gas taxes to pay for troopers.

The issue has festered for years among city leaders who pay for their own protection, as other suburban and rural communities accept state police assistance with no charge.

Millions from 28 Philly red-light cameras fund statewide projects
Nearly $5.5 million collected from fines for red-light violations at 28 Philadelphia intersections will fund 23 safety-improvement projects in 18 municipalities across the state, Gov. Wolf announced Monday.

The biggest chunk of money – $2.8 million – will go to five projects in Philadelphia, including $1 million for safety improvements at 30 to 50 “known crash locations,” according to a news release. Those locations were not identified.

PennDOT Announces New Bike Route Mapping Tool
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) joined other state and local officials today in kicking off Bike to Work Week May 16 – 20 by announcing the launch of a new interactive mapping tool for BicyclePA routes.

“With the many benefits of bicycling, I encourage Pennsylvanians to bike to work wherever possible,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Interest in biking continues to grow across Pennsylvania as more people recognize the benefits of incorporating active transportation, biking and walking into their lives. Our message today is that PennDOT and the commonwealth are committed to being truly multimodal.”

State police protection is no freebie
The duties of the state police have changed markedly since the dawn of the 20th century, as it now provides protection not just at hotspots where disputes between labor and management might flare. It patrols all federal and state highways across the commonwealth, oversees automobile inspections, enforces the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code and enforces regulations on commercial vehicles.

It also is the sole source of police protection for 85 percent of the commonwealth’s territory, and a little more than a quarter of its population – something that it is doing even as its ranks thin and lawmakers dip into a fund earmarked for roads to keep the state police in the black. It’s a situation that cannot be sustained.

Biking in Pennsylvania just got a whole lot easier with this interactive map
Ever wonder what routes you can take to bike around Pennsylvania? A new interactive map provides that information and more to bicyclists.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced the launch of a new interactive map that allows people to find detailed bike routes around the state.

Public transit execs make ‘urgent’ call for infrastructure investment
On a media conference call yesterday, the chief executive officers of several U.S. transit agencies highlighted what they dubbed “an urgent need” for local, state and federal governments to increase investment in public transportation infrastructure.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) organized the event to draw attention to an $86 billion backlog in deferred maintenance and replacement needs at U.S. transit agencies. The figure comes from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which also estimates that more than 25 percent of rail transit assets and 40 percent of buses are in marginal and poor condition, APTA officials said.


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