PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 5

January 30, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Lone bidder for I-95 Scudder toll bridge approved; will borrow $475M

The $396 million bid by Trumbull Corp. of Pittsburgh, the only general contractor willing to replace the free I-95 Scudder Falls bridge with a twin toll bridge under conditions set by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, has been accepted by the commission.

The commission had hoped to build the bridge for $300 million to $325 million. Two nonunion general contractors told the Inquirer they felt they were discouraged from bidding because the commission is requiring a Project Labor Agreement binding builders to work with unions in case of work disputes.

As gas-tax profits decline, more states may turn to tolls

Tolls have been a fact of life in Indiana for at least 60 years, but state Rep. Edmond Soliday thinks there will have to be more of them if the state wants to keep its roads in good shape. Soliday, a Republican who chairs his chamber’s transportation committee, said the most expensive part of the state’s transportation network are the heavily trafficked interstates that are filled with out-of-state trucks.

Federal law, however, prevents states from tolling existing interstates without a waiver. So Soliday introduced an ambitious road-funding bill earlier this month that would instruct the Indiana Department of Transportation to apply for a federal waiver and to study how tolls could be added.

Pittsburgh tunnels are getting ‘enhanced cell service’

Entering a tunnel in Pittsburgh no longer means entering a black hole for cellphone service. PennDOT says a new antenna system will boost wireless coverage inside the Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill and Liberty tunnels.

How the Midwest could become a hub for advanced transportation

A new collection of transportation agencies and universities is taking one small step toward transforming the Rust Belt into a place associated with the future instead of the past. Eleven agencies and institutions located in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have formed the Smart Belt Coalition, which will spur joint efforts on the testing and deployment of autonomous and connected cars.

The collaboration comes on the heels of a legislative overhaul of Michigan regulations last month, which have been relaxed to spur the testing of self-driving technology on the state’s public roads. Ohio and Pennsylvania do not have laws on the books governing autonomous vehicles, but in their absence, both states have encouraged such tests.

Speed-detection cameras could be installed at construction zones to slow speeders

The Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would establish a five-year pilot program of installing speed detection cameras in work zones on PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission highways.

 

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