Report shows Pa. highways are improving

August 23, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

The Reason Foundation, a self-described libertarian public policy think tank, is seldom kind to Pennsylvania in assessing the quality and performance of our transportation system. The foundation’s methodology makes for imperfect comparisons with other states, so we tend to view its reports with some skepticism.

Nevertheless, whether one agrees that Pennsylvania’s highways deserve to be ranked 35th in performance and cost effectiveness, the foundation’s latest report acknowledges that there has been improvement since its previous report, in which our ranking was 41st.

We can postulate that there would have been virtually no chance for improvement without the passage of Act 89 of 2013, which boosted fuel taxes and license and registration revenue by $2.3 billion annually. To view the foundation’s latest report, which was released this week, click here.


Registration Now Open for 2019 PHIA Annual Transportation Conference

August 21, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured 

Registration is now open for the 2019 PHIA Transportation Conference and Annual Meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at the Hilton Harrisburg.  Click HERE for more information and to register!



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 33

August 19, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

PennDOT didn’t send savings from registration stickers to law enforcement: Here’s why

PennDOT officials said in 2016 that the department might use the savings from eliminating license plate stickers to fund expensive cameras for police departments. That never happened.

Police split over necessity of bringing registration stickers back to Pa. license plates

Police in Pennsylvania are divided as to whether registration stickers should be brought back to license plates.

House panel hears concerns for PA vehicle registration

The committee heard testimony on two bills that address issues stemming from the implementation of the no-sticker requirement in late 2016.

License plate readers gain support for crime-fighting, but bill would address privacy concerns

Rothman has introduced a bill that would regulate how both ALPRs and the data they collect are used. He says the bill wouldn’t only help law enforcement but could also protect Pennsylvanian’s privacy.

Lawmakers might bring back license plate stickers with a new twist

The state House Transportation Committee is considering a bill to reinstate those little vehicle registration stickers on Pennsylvania license plates.

U.S. appeals court hands truckers defeat in Pa. Turnpike toll suit

High tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike do not violate the right of truckers and other motorists to travel between states, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, upholding a lower-court dismissal of a lawsuit against state agencies and officials.

How Pa. transportation secretary is shifting the infrastructure conversation

Secretary Leslie Richards is trying to re-engineer the engineering process by making community engagement a top priority.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 32

August 12, 2019 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 32
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Storms, floods cause $1.2B damage to public infrastructure

The Associated Press tallied about $1.2 billion of damage in 24 states based on preliminary assessments of public infrastructure categories established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The tally includes damage to roads and bridges, utilities, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, and parks.

PennDOT has plans for Lancaster County spot notorious for congestion

There is a $40-million plan to ease congestion in Lancaster County. PennDOT plans to add lanes and make a stretch of Route 222 in Manheim Township a six-lane highway. PennDOT hopes to ease congestion where Routes 30 meets 222.

Uber and Lyft suggest the days of cheap rides could be over

THE DAYS OF cheap ride-hailing may be ending. Uber and Lyft reported quarterly financial results this week and indicated that their cutthroat competition to woo riders with coupons and other gambits is easing.

A wider Route 22 is still a priority, despite $380M cut to Lehigh Valley transportation

The futures of many local transportation projects are uncertain after PennDOT’s announcement last month that $380 million will be cut from long-range Lehigh Valley transportation projects. One project seems sure to stay: The planned widening of Route 22.

State hoping Restore Pennsylvania gets funding to fix rural roads

Two administrators from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation came to the PennDOT Stockpile off Route 99 in Cambridge Township on Monday to discuss how Restore Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s infrastructure, could improve roads across the county and region.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 31

August 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 31
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Pennsylvania’s gas tax no longer highest

After having the nation’s highest gasoline tax for more than four years, the Keystone State was bumped to second place on July 1, when a tax increase in California took effect.

City of Pittsburgh seeking public input on transportation vision

PGH MOBILITY 2070 will establish a framework to guide investment, development, and management in a network of transportation infrastructure, information, and services that could support the city’s needs if its population grows from the current 302,000 residents to 450,000 residents over the next 50 years.

Lawmakers reach deal for $3 billion to repair ailing bridges

Senators have brokered a deal to reauthorize the highway trust fund for another five years, proposing to spend an unprecedented $287 billion on surface transportation projects.

PennDOT agrees to deploy automated speed enforcement unit in fall in I-78 work zones

State Senators David Argall (R-29) and Judith L. Schwank (D-11) have announced that PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards has agreed to their joint request to deploy automated speed enforcement units in work zones along Interstate 78 in Berks County when they become available this fall.

V-tolls: What they are and why you might be paying them if you travel the Pa. Turnpike

Mysterious charges appeared on E-ZPass statements of Pennsylvania Turnpike customers at least 350,000 times over the course of a year. Called V-tolls, these are $10 charges incurred by E-ZPass users when an E-ZPass transponder doesn’t get read as a vehicle exits the turnpike.

Pa.’s four-year-long partnership to fix 558 bridges approaches its conclusion

PennDOT and its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project development partner, Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners, recently started construction on the 558th and final bridge in the program.

Who needs a valet? Cars in this garage can park themselves

Parking-related crashes happen at lower speeds, so they’re fortunately less likely to hurt or kill people (or get reported to police). But they’re costly, and insurance companies are very interested in getting rid of them. Basically: The world would be better without parking.


Partnership reaches milestone in bridge replacement program

August 1, 2019 by · Comments Off on Partnership reaches milestone in bridge replacement program
Filed under: News 

Earlier this month, Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners began construction of the 558th and final bridge included in the Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Program, in Straban Township, Adams County, not far from the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The program was among the early initiatives following the passage of Act 89, the transportation funding measure that raised an additional $2.3 billion in annual revenue, in November of 2013. It was a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership between Plenary Walsh and the Commonwealth, costing $899 million.

While this final bridge is expected to be completed this fall, the partnership will continue for 25 years, as Plenary Walsh will be responsible for maintaining all of the program’s bridges before turning that responsibility back to PennDOT. The private-sector consortium also financed and designed the bridges in addition to building them.

When the project was unveiled, PennDOT noted that it would enable the Commonwealth to replace the bridges decades sooner than with a more traditional approach. It also enabled the Commonwealth to put the distinction of leading the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges into the proverbial rear-view mirror, helping to reduce the number from more than 6,000 to about half of that.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 30

July 29, 2019 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 30
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Study: Half of teens who die in Pa. crashes aren’t wearing a seat belt

More than half of teens who died in crashes in 2016 were not wearing a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says seat belt use is the most important factor in preventing death.

Pennsylvania needs a transportation-funding fix

Pennsylvania gets a big chunk of its transportation money from the feds. The feds want more of that cash to go the 1,300 miles of interstate highways in Pennsylvania. That means less for state roads and bridges.

Inclined Plane rehab grinds to halt; turnpike lawsuit delays state grant

A major rehabilitation of the Johnstown Inclined Plane has been put on hold by a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Pennsylvania Turnpike using technology to clear accident scenes quicker

In the year since the turnpike began using the app, the turnpike has seen the average delay for accidents and other incidents reduced from an hour and 46 minutes to 1:18.

4 drivers rack up more than $21,000 in unpaid tolls on Turnpike

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is continuing to crack down on toll cheats. Authorities have charged four more drivers with theft for repeatedly dodging tolls at Pennsylvania Turnpike entrances in Bucks County.

$380 million in PennDOT funding cuts could triple the amount of time to complete roadwork

PennDOT is cutting the region’s transportation funding by $380 million over the next 12 years.


Read more

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 29

July 24, 2019 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 29
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Ever-rising turnpike tax

This is the 12th consecutive year of toll increases and, this time, it is 6% across the board for E-ZPass and cash customers alike.

Mid-year update on PennDOT road and bridge construction progress

Through June 30, PennDOT crews have improved more than 800 miles of roadway and rehabilitated or replaced 27 bridges statewide this year. In the same timeframe, 372 construction contracts for highway, bridge, and other improvement projects were issued statewide to PennDOT’s private-sector partners.

Wilkes-Barre interested in Philly rail service

The city is interested in starting passenger rail service to Philadelphia to boost economic development and improve the quality of life in the region.

Gas tax drop has state looking for answers

The Motor License Fund — which includes gas tax and revenue from license renewals and fees — ended 2018-19 almost $58 million below what the state had projected for the year, according to the Department of Revenue.

Officials tested how many drivers respected pedestrians in crosswalks in Bethlehem

The law gives the right-of-way to pedestrians in these cases; drivers need to wait for pedestrians to pass in front of them before moving along. But they frequently don’t.

Pa. Turnpike tolls to rise 6 percent in 2020

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a 6% increase at a meeting Tuesday. The toll increases apply to E-ZPass, cash and Toll-By-Plate passenger and commercial systems across the entire turnpike. In most places on the turnpike system, the new rates will go into effect in January 2020.


Fuel-tax drop reflects need for funding solutions

July 19, 2019 by · Comments Off on Fuel-tax drop reflects need for funding solutions
Filed under: Featured 

John Finnerty, who covers the Statehouse for newspapers in Johnstown, Meadville, New Castle, Sharon and Sunbury, dug up an interesting story recently noting that Motor License Fund revenue fell $58 million short of projections in the recently ended fiscal year.

While the percentage of the shortfall is relatively small, it portends a growing threat to highway funding in Pennsylvania. As fuel efficiency continues to improve, and demand for alternative fuel vehicles grows, our reliance on a consumption tax presents challenges.

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Rep. Mike Carroll, of Luzerne County, Democratic chair of the House Transportation Committee, has introduced a bill that would establish an annual fee for entirely electric vehicles. The bill advanced through the transportation panel with overwhelming support and awaits a full House vote and Senate consideration this fall.

While EVs are supposed to pay an alternative fuel tax to make up for the revenue lost by avoiding a gasoline or diesel tax, the procedure is cumbersome, and many EV owners are probably not even aware of the requirement. The Carroll bill would eliminate the alternative fuel tax and replace it with the annual fee.

There are other issues that need to be resolved, such as how to make sure that hybrid owners, who pay some fuel taxes, pay their fair share for road maintenance and repair. Perhaps they will be asked to pay a smaller fee than EV owners.

Representative Carroll believes the ultimate answer will be a mileage-based fee, which would most closely align the cost of highway maintenance with the responsibility for wear and tear.

To read Finnerty’s entire article, click here.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 27

July 1, 2019 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 27
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Daunting task: Building the Southern Beltway’s interchange underneath I-79

For the first 11 miles of construction of the Southern Beltway, the concept has been pretty much the same: knock down hills, fill in valleys and create a flat surface for the new 13-mile toll road on the Allegheny-Washington County border.

Pennsylvania resolution urges federal government to make infrastructure a priority

The Pennsylvania state House recently advanced a resolution that urges the federal government to make the resiliency of the country’s infrastructure a priority.

11 things you need to know before getting a Real ID in Pennsylvania

Residents who want Pennsylvania’s federally compliant ID cards are required to provide a slew of paperwork and information when they apply.

Pennsylvania highway deaths slightly increased last year, despite national dip

Early estimates show 36,750 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationally in 2018, a roughly 1% year-over-year decrease, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As Trump and Congress consider infrastructure funding, road builders call for more federal dollars

Dave Bauer, the CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, says the Trump administration and Congress need to pitch in to help states accomplish their transportation goals.


Next Page »