PHIA helps to shine spotlight on Act 89 benefits

June 30, 2016

ACT89ABSTRACTAmong our goals for PHIA this year is to raise the organization’s profile and strengthen its reputation as “the go-to source” for information about transportation issues.

We were pleased this week to coordinate and participate in a Harrisburg news conference featuring PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. The news conference was held to provide an update of where things stand with Act 89 in advance of a series of regional events we’re sponsoring to promote the benefits of the transportation funding measure enacted in 2013.

Secretary Richards began by recapping the progress that has been made because of Act 89. The measure enabled PennDOT to award $2.5 billion in construction projects last year, and an estimated $2.4 billion this year. Without Act 89, the awards would have totaled only about $1.5 billion per year. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 81

June 27, 2016

Transportation options are expanding, but can they reach the urban poor?

Much has been made over the last few years about new trends in transportation. Americans—particularly millennials—are buying fewer carsdriving less, and turning to public or alternative transit more. A boom in transportation options, investment in transit in dense urban areas, and a growing sensitivity to the impact of cars on the environment has allowed some people to make fewer car trips and own fewer vehicles.

Yet, the households with the most to gain from expanded transportation options are also the ones most likely to be excluded from them. Whether it is car ownership, new forms of ride sharing, or traditional transit, low-income families may struggle to pay for reliable transportation, may be missing out on new options, and may have fewer fallbacks when their transportation falls through.

Government, Crowdsourced Data Might Help People with Disabilities Get Around

For someone in a wheelchair, directions to a place a few blocks away can be a whole lot more complicated than they might be for a person who has full use of their legs. There are stair-only pathways to consider, elevator locations, slanted sidewalks, curbs and hills.

But government data — and possibly crowdsourcing — might be able to help make those trips a little easier. In Seattle, one organization has put together a service called AccessMap that aims to provide routing around the hill-laden city for people with disabilities. The service uses data sets from several sources, including the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the U.S. Geological Survey, to show where bus lines are, where ramped curbs exist, which streets have steep grades and more.

Brandywine, Drexel Unveil $4.5B Plan for Philly Transit Hub

As the culmination of a two-year effort, the plan for redeveloping about 100 acres of downtown Philadelphia was released late last week by Amtrak,Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The partners also announced several early projects to improve the immediate station area and help trigger development throughout the 30th Street Station District.




Automated Work Zone Enforcement Advances in the Senate

June 23, 2016

600600p472EDNmain1155Senate 4Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senator David Argall (R-Berks), which creates a pilot program for automated camera enforcement in work zones, passed unanimously out of Senate Appropriations Committee last night.

Before passage, the committee adopted two amendments to SB 840: first, Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) introduced an amendment to direct the revenue from tickets to the Motor License Fund; second, Senator Argall made some technical changes to the language. Both amendments were adopted unanimously.

The bill would create a five year, sun-setting pilot program for automated enforcement systems on interstate highways during active work times. The highways must be under the jurisdiction of PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission, and enforcement zones will be noted at least twice before a driver enters the work zone. The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of the Turnpike Commission post a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin before a new speed enforcement system is operational. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 80

June 20, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Massive plan has 30th Street Station at ground zero

A collaborative, long-term vision for the growth and development of the area surrounding Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station has been unveiled.

Officials announced the 30th Street Station District Plan on Thursday, which lays out a comprehensive vision for the landmark’s future over the next 35 years and beyond. The master planning effort is led by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.



P3 Board approves Turnpike fiber optic cable project

June 17, 2016

P3altLate last week, the state Public-Private Partnership Board approved the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s proposal to seek a firm to install fiber optic cable along the Turnpike and its extensions.

The cable will span more than 550 miles and significantly improve the communication capacity for the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT. The proposal invites a private partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the cable network and lease the remaining capacity of the network to other users.

Utilizing the Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Act of 2012 will enable the Turnpike Commission to reserve its capital for rebuilding the toll road. The Commission expects bids from large firms located in metropolitan regions of the country.

Industry input will be sought by October of this year, and the Commission plans to have a preferred firm selected by June of 2017, with construction to be completed in 2018.

“The aging system is nearing its capacity, and maintenance costs are increasing,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “An economically efficient P3 project is a great way to improve wireless infrastructure and capacity to meet the Turnpike’s needs into the future.”