PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 8

February 20, 2024 by · Leave a Comment
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Truck parking is focus of legislation in multiple statehouses

Available truck parking continues to be an issue nationally. New data, however, suggests significant improvement when it comes to truck parking availability nationwide.

Many entities failed before the Fern Hollow Bridge did

A nearly two-year federal investigation into the 2022 collapse of Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh found problems with every entity involved, from the city’s maintenance and the state’s oversight of the bridge to the private inspectors who were hired to keep tabs on its condition before the deteriorating southwest leg buckled, bringing the rest of the bridge down on a cold January morning.

Hearing set to reveal cause of Fern Hollow Bridge collapse

A virtual hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board on the Jan. 28, 2022 collapse is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to include a presentation by investigators, feature an animation of the bridge failure and provide better understanding of what went wrong over the years for the long-troubled span.

Three Pa. airports to get share of $1 billion in federal airport terminal funding

Three Pennsylvania airports will be among those receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airport Terminal Program, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 7

February 12, 2024 by · Leave a Comment
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I-95 closure dates announced for the southbound lanes of the highway in Philly

All lanes of I-95 southbound will be shut down between 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 and 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. between Exit 22 (I-676/Callowhill St.) and the Morris Street on-ramp.

Status of using highway shoulders as additional lanes on Blue Route and Schuylkill Expressway

Using the shoulders to alleviate congestion is still in the works, however, drivers won’t see tangible changes for a couple of years, said PennDOT spokesperson Brad Rudolph.

Budget expected to move more state police funding away from gas tax

One of the linchpins of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s public safety plan in the 2024-25 budget proposal is a continued shift away from funding the Pennsylvania State Police out of the state’s motor license fund, which draws primarily from gas tax revenue.

State Rep. Joe McAndrew to chair of Public Transportation subcommittee

State Rep. Joe McAndrew was appointed chair of the House subcommittee on Public Transportation, his office announced Friday.

Impending crisis with public transit puts Lehigh Valley economy, workforce at risk

Transit connects workers to jobs and students to classes. Transit assists seniors in accessing medical services and opportunities for socialization, both of which are vital for their health. And practically speaking, transit lessens congestion on our crowded roadways and spurs economic growth.

In a united front, state reps highlight new Pa. budget priorities

With major increases in funding for education and SEPTA, without any tax hikes, members of the Philadelphia House delegation laid out the major aspirations of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

$40 million federal grant paves road for Pittsburgh to acquire electric buses

Bella Patton was among a group of schoolchildren Thursday on the South Side who toured the new type of bus that will soon join the fleet of vehicles serving Pittsburgh Public Schools students.

Philly Dems: SEPTA boost just one highlight for city in Shapiro budget proposal

Funding for SEPTA represents a sizable chunk of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget for transit spending in Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia lawmakers say it’s not the only way the budget would benefit the region.

PennDOT begins $73 million Parkway East project in Churchill

Work will begin overnight Wednesday on the first major road project of the construction season: a $73 million upgrade of the Parkway East between Churchill and Monroeville.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 6

February 5, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 6
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I-95 northbound lanes in Philly reopened Monday; southbound closure to be scheduled

State officials say northbound lanes of I-95 closed over the weekend to allow work on construction of a park near Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia have reopened, but they warn that closure of southbound lanes will be needed in coming weeks.

Drivers keep passing stopped school buses, despite use of cameras to catch them

Drivers nationwide continue to barrel illegally past stopped school buses, endangering children and caregivers— and sometimes worse. But some states have found it hard to enforce relatively new laws allowing on-board bus camera systems that record the violations.

Transportation Sec. Buttigieg talks rail safety improvements

It’s been exactly one year since a freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing fiery plumes of toxic chemicals. While there were no casualties, the incident put a big spotlight on freight, rail safety and how the government can better protect against accidents like this.

Biden to visit E. Palestine to mark derailment anniversary

President Joe Biden will visit East Palestine, Ohio to meet with residents affected by the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train last year. Details of the president’s visit were not yet available, just that he would visit this month.

Revenue Department releases January collections

The Motor License Fund received $245.4 million for the month, $5.6 million above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $1.8 billion, which is $11.0 million, or 0.6 percent, above estimate.

Philadelphia traffic ranked 8th-worst in U.S. in national study

Philadelphia’s traffic was ranked eighth-worst in the United States in a new study, using data from 2023. New York fared the worst in the index, with TomTom reporting drivers needing an average of 24 minutes and 50 seconds to travel just 10 kilometers.

Crash tests indicate nation’s guardrail system can’t handle heavy EVs

Electric vehicles that typically weigh more than gasoline-powered cars can easily crash through steel highway guardrails that are not designed to withstand the extra force, raising concerns about the nation’s roadside safety system, according to crash test data released Wednesday by the University of Nebraska.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 5

January 29, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 5
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I-95 NB in Philly to close weekend of Feb. 3 to 5

As part of the $329 million CAP project to cover the interstate and connect Old City to Penn’s Landing, PennDOT will close I-95 northbound between Columbus Boulevard (Exit 20) and Interstate 676 (Exit 22) from the night of Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 to early Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.

Shapiro to propose major increase in funding for public transit

Making public transit funding a focal point, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that he will propose that the state increase its share of the costs by nearly $1.5 billion over the next five years.

Pgh. federal infrastructure funds for Parkway East projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came to Pittsburgh on Friday to join local leaders in celebrating $142 million in federal infrastructure funding coming to the area. People who travel I-376 (Parkway East) between Downtown and the eastern suburbs will benefit from the big infrastructure funding boom.

Infrastructure ‘boot camps’ help cities like Bethlehem win federal grants

Last month, Bethlehem got news that it had won $9.9 million in grants from the Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program, while Dearborn, Michigan, learned that it had been awarded $24 million. What the small Pennsylvania city and mid-sized Michigan community have in common is that both participated in the Local Infrastructure Hub.

Pa. opens first EV charging station

PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright and other federal officials announced the completion of Pennsylvania’s first federally-funded electric vehicle (EV) charging station.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 4

January 22, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 4
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Philadelphia’s first autonomous vehicle coming to the Navy Yard

A new autonomous shuttle is set to hit the road at the booming Navy Yard. The pilot program will be the first automated shuttle to transport public passengers in Pennsylvania.

3 major Pgh. bridges set to get $132M in renovations

A total of $132 million will help repair steel components, joints and bearings on the McKees Rocks, West End and Fort Duquesne bridges, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, said.

Amtrak begins renovations at Philly’s 30th Street Station

A large-scale renovation project at 30th Street Station has officially begun, temporarily closing the transportation hub’s south concourse and Market Street Plaza while construction gets underway.

Federal lawmakers urge support for SEPTA

A group of Democratic federal lawmakers from Pennsylvania have sought intervention from the U.S. Department of Transportation to address a looming funding crisis for SEPTA.

What a new rule banning funny roadway signs means for Pa.

Have you ever noticed the electronic sign “Don’t Drive Star Spangled Hammered” on the Parkway West and chuckled? Well, that and other similar quirky messages are going away in a couple years. They will be banned in 2026.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 3

January 15, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 3
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CSVT easing traffic volume on regional routes

The opening of the northern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project has had a significant impact in reducing traffic on local routes according to data released this week from PennDOT.

White House announces $1 billion for electric and low-emission school buses

The Biden administration announced it is providing $1 billion in funding for more than 2,700 electric and low-emission school buses across 37 states.

Companies close to finalizing autonomous truck design

Germany’s Continental AG, a technologies and services company, and Pennsylvania-based Aurora Innovation, an autonomous freight solutions company, recently announced they have finalized the design and architecture of the future fallback system and hardware of the Aurora Driver, an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 4 autonomous driving system.


PennDOT & Turnpike Combined Letting History – updated Jan. 2024

January 10, 2024 by · Comments Off on PennDOT & Turnpike Combined Letting History – updated Jan. 2024
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PennDOT & Turnpike Combined Letting History Chart (pdf)


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 2

January 8, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 2
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Turnpike to begin testing electrified parking spaces to charge EVs

The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s dip into electric vehicle charging expects to take a big step forward in 2024 with the installation of charging pads at its headquarters near Harrisburg.

After 60 years, Mon-Fayette Expressway starts to take shape

It took more than 60 years for the Allegheny County portion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway to go from an idea to actual construction, but that first year of construction in Jefferson Hills started with a flourish.

‘Motor voter’ registration up 38%, independents lead new registrants

Pennsylvania’s shift to automatic voter registration at PennDOT driver and photo license centers resulted in a nearly 38% increase in new registrants since its enactment last fall, with independent voters outnumbering those who chose to join either major party.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 1

January 3, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 1
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Year in review: Pa. transportation

Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure is a constant focus of legislative attention, fitting for a state with multitudes of bridges, roads, weather, and terrain that means unending maintenance costs.

Pa.’s electric vehicle marathon

The Biden administration set a target for electric vehicles, or EVs, to account for half of all new vehicle sales by 2030. However, concerns about vehicle cost, range anxiety and limited charging infrastructure have led to slower-than-expected adoption rates.

Pa. drivers to see more automatic speed checks in work zones in 2024

According to the 2023 AWZSE Annual Report, there has been a 47% reduction in excessive speeding (11+ mph over the speed limit) in work zones and 38% in overall speeding (1+ mph over the speed limit) since the program began in March 2020. The initiative has been fully supported by the Turnpike Commission, PennDOT and the Pa. State Police.

States warn of ‘Band-Aids and duct tape’ for road maintenance

Across the country, state transportation departments are warning that public safety is at risk if lawmakers don’t overhaul how road maintenance gets funded.

Why PA Turnpike tolls are increasing in 2024

The Pennsylvania Turnpike might be taking a toll on your wallet, but not paying them can put you in the fast lane to even higher costs.

Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority hires firm to develop service plan

The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority got some big news recently that has given a boost to the effort to restore passenger rail service from Reading to Philadelphia with stops in Pottstown and Phoenixville.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 50

December 19, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 50
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Automated work zone speed cameras reauthorized

State lawmakers and Gov. Josh Shapiro this week reauthorized the deployment of automated speed cameras that are primarily used in work zones to deter speeding in areas where people maintenance or construction crews are often separated from fast-moving traffic by cones or channelizing device.

Shapiro recounts 2023 accomplishments

Since taking office, Governor Shapiro and his administration have gotten stuff done by repairing our roads and bridges, investing in infrastructure, and supporting Pennsylvania’s state parks – from reopening a portion of I-95 in Philadelphia just 12 days after its collapse to delivering the largest investment in state parks in decades.

Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission to transition to cashless tolling

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced its plan to shift its network of toll bridges to cashless all-electronic toll collections by January 2025.

Municipalities ill-equipped to apply for transportation grants

Though small localities qualify for state and federal funds to match transportation projects, they have a devil of a time getting them. PennDOT’s State Transportation Commission has cast its attention on the problem, partnering with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to survey the issues and suggest more state matching funds to overcome some hurdles and change some property tax rules.

Pa. invests $42.5 million in 25 rail projects

PennDOT announced the approval of 25 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining nearly 300 jobs across Pennsylvania.


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