PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 39

October 2, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
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New cars are supposed to be getting safer. So why are fatalities on the rise?

Roadway deaths in the U.S. are mounting, despite government test data showing vehicles have been getting safer. While the number of all car-related fatalities has trended upward over the last decade, pedestrians and cyclists have seen the sharpest rise: over 60% between 2011 and 2022.

Self-driving vehicle testing in Pittsburgh area shifting gears to focus on trucking industry

Companies and investors are looking at vehicles in more predictable scenarios — think trucks on the interstate rather than in city traffic — to advance self-driving technology.

PA receives $11.3 million federal grant for freight rail improvements in western PA

PennDOT is the recipient of a $11,250,367 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant through the Federal Railroad Association (FRA). The grant funds will support the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad’s (BPRR) Rebuilding Western Pennsylvania project, one of 70 projects to receive a share of $1.4 billion in funding.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 38

September 25, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
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PennDOT awards bid for CSVT project

PennDOT recently awarded the second construction contract of the southern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project. Walsh Construction Company II from Chicago had the lowest bid at $106.4 million. Two other bids were submitted.

PennDOT, Norfolk Southern finalize western Pa. passenger-rail access pact

PennDOT recently finalized an agreement with Norfolk Southern Corp. to expand passenger rail service on the Pennsylvanian Amtrak line in western Pennsylvania.

University Park Airport awarded $5.45 million in federal funding

University Park Airport will receive $5.45 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for an ongoing infrastructure project. The grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program will be used for the next phase of a multi-year taxiway rehabilitation project at the airport.

2 Philly airports receive millions to upgrade taxiways, cut emissions

Two Philadelphia airports are receiving millions of dollars in new federal funding to upgrade taxiways and reduce emissions. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Airport Improvement Program. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) will get about $23.7 million, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE) will receive around $2.8 million, four Pennsylvania Congress members said Thursday.

PennDOT announces EV charging station funds

PennDOT has announced additional conditional awards for Round 1 of the federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding. These awards further the Shapiro administration’s work to address climate change, grow the Commonwealth’s economy and ensure that the future of Pennsylvania transportation is on track to be cleaner, safer, more affordable and more reliable than ever before.

Committee OKs public transportation modernization bill

The state Senate Transportation Committee reported to the full Senate legislation that would modernize the management of Pennsylvania’s public transportation systems, said bill sponsor, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

PennDOT reopens collapsed Lackawanna Co. bridge ahead of schedule

PennDOT has reopened the collapsed bridge on Route 4036 (Falls Road) in Newton Township ahead of schedule. PennDOT led the effort, getting the work done in less than two weeks.

Data shows Pa. roundabouts reducing fatalities, injuries and crashes

PennDOT announced that according to department data, fatalities, injuries and crashes decreased overall after intersections at 39 locations were replaced with 42 roundabouts.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 37

September 18, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 37
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Pa. work zone speed camera program could become permanent

Officials with PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are hoping to see a pilot program that allows automated speed cameras to record speeding violations in work zones to be extended.

Business, local leaders celebrate start of Bayfront Parkway project

The $111.7 million Bayfront Parkway Central Corridor Improvement Construction Project will improve traffic flow and make the waterfront more accessible from downtown Erie, allowing the city to take advantage of one of its key assets for tourism and economic development.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 36

September 12, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 36
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EV, hybrids sales increase as gas-powered vehicle sales decrease

According to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles make up 16 percent of light-duty vehicle sales across the country.

Deluzio pushes for passage of rail safety legislation

U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio, D-17th District, on Friday called for Congress to move forward with legislation he introduced in March that would tighten regulations and penalties for railroads. Deluzio and Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., introduced the legislation in the aftermath of the February Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Neilson: PA needs new ideas for funding transportation

The following opinion column comes from state Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia), chair of the state House Transportation committee.

LVPC seeking public comment for $4.39 billion long-range transportation plan

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is seeking public comment on its $4 billion Long-Range Transportation Plan. The commission has scheduled several meetings to inform the public about the plan. Comment will be accepted through Oct. 6.

Pa. General Fund revenue for August below expectations

Along with General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund was $8.6 million below estimate at $282.9 million for the month. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund, including gas and diesel taxes together with other license, fine and fee revenues, were $554.9 million, $10.2 million less than anticipated.

PA State Police issue Labor Day enforcement stats

Pennsylvania State Police troopers investigated a total of 671 crashes statewide over the four-day Labor Day weekend, according to data released by the agency this week. There was a total of 10 fatalities and 220 injuries, according to State Police. Alcohol was determined to be a factor in 61 non-fatal and two fatal crashes during the four-day travel holiday, the agency said.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8. No. 35

September 5, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8. No. 35
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State Police subsidy to be phased out

Speaking as a highway builder, we are thrilled to have finally persuaded lawmakers to halt the practice of subsidizing the state police with motor license fund money that was intended to be used for building and maintaining roads and bridges.

The story behind E-Z Pass, the rules are not the same in every state

E-ZPass is a convenience for anyone traveling the toll roads, but depending on where someone drives, they might be better off buying an EZPass from another state.

Pa. awards $2.9 million for switch to zero or low-emission vehicles

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded $2.9 million in 2022 Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant funding to municipalities, schools, and businesses around the state to switch to zero- or low-emission vehicles.

Changes proposed for Pa. driver’s licenses, plates

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is renewing a push to create digital driver’s licenses, identifications, and license plates. State Sen. Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne) says he plans to introduce a package of legislation labeled “Driving PA Forward” that “collects some of the lowest hanging fruits and ones that are most likely to result in positive and direct change to our constituents.”

Pa. needs to do more to bring its energy to market

Pennsylvania has the potential to be the global leader in the production and export of clean energy sources, but all the pieces are not currently in place to accomplish that status.

Timeline revealed for the I-95 rebuild project

Crews are now moving into a new phase of work after they installed 100-foot beams to hold the bridges on the north and southbound sides of the highway this week. Eight beams were installed, and eight more will be put in place this coming month, according to PennDOT

PennDOT’s $148.9 million revamp of I-80 bridges sparks concern

PennDOT held a public information meeting about a $148.9 million project to stop further degradation of the I-80 Lehigh River bridges that cross Carbon and Luzerne counties.


In Memoriam: Robert, “Bob”, Hetherington – Past PHIA Director

August 29, 2023 by · Comments Off on In Memoriam: Robert, “Bob”, Hetherington – Past PHIA Director
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We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague, Bob Hetherington, who died on Saturday evening, August 26, at his home in Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg. He was 95.

It would not be enough to say that Bob had a productive and successful career. He had several of them – newsman, soldier, combat correspondent, public relations practitioner, government agency spokesman and, last but not least, managing director of the PA Highway Information Association, from which he retired in 1993.

He received accolades at every turn, particularly as his career steered him toward transportation issues. He was active in several charitable endeavors, and with his late wife, Terry, raised a family of four.

For information about services and more details of his life, please read his beautifully written obituary.

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 34

August 28, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 34
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Better road to pay for state police

Debates over unresolved elements of the state government’s new $44.45 billion budget – including more than $600 million for four state-affiliated universities’ in-state tuition discounts; $100 million in “Level Up” funding for poor school districts; and more – have obscured significant progress ensured by the completed parts of the budget.

Turnpike commission announces location of Route 130 interchange

A turnpike interchange will be installed near the intersection of Nike Site Road, Sandy Hill Road, Pleasant Valley Road and Route 130 in Penn Township, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced.

PA invests nearly $50 million for 58 transportation projects

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that his administration will fund 58 highway, bridge, aviation, ports and bike and pedestrian projects in 37 counties using $49.6 million in funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides grant funding to ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to all Pennsylvanians.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 33

August 21, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 33
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How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact Pa.

In today’s polarized political climate, few issues in Washington receive bipartisan support. Investment in the nation’s infrastructure, however, is a notable exception – and with good reason.

Plan to stop diverting road dollars state police could be final piece of Pa. budget

For at least 50 years, Pennsylvania has used taxes drivers pay at the pump to fund its State Police force. But lawmakers are hopeful that the main budget bill passed by the divided Pennsylvania General Assembly and recently signed by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is the first step to ending those transfers, which have diverted $8 billion from road and bridge construction in the past decade alone.

Steam locomotive from Franklin Institute to be displayed at Pa. Railroad Museum

A steam locomotive that has been on display at the Franklin Institute for the last 90 years was recently removed and will be relocated to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

City, SEPTA and PennDOT cut ribbon on red bus-only lane

City officials joined SEPTA and PennDOT for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the newly painted red bus-only lane on Market Street between 20th and 15th streets.

PennDOT accepting grant applications for freight-rail infrastructure projects

PennDOT has opened the application period for grants under the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP).

How a central Pa. company became a major force in the traffic-control industry

When Mike Doner first heard the word “flagger” in the 1980s he didn’t know what it meant.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 32

August 15, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 32
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PennDOT announces federal funding for EV projects

According to officials, 54 projects in 35 Pennsylvania counties have been selected to either expand or help the reliability of electric vehicle (EV) charging within the state. This $33.8 million federal investment is part of the $171.5 million PennDOT will receive and distribute over five years.

Government can’t be agile? Don’t tell Pa’s. bridge-fixers.

When a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline exploded underneath an Interstate 95 overpass in Philadelphia in June, the blaze literally melted some of the bridge’s steel, collapsing the structure and shutting down traffic on one of the nation’s busiest highways. State officials initially predicted that the roadway would be closed for five months, raising the prospect of epic backups on local streets and long detours for commercial traffic.

SEPTA to invest in clean buses

SEPTA will use approximately $23 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve bus stops and purchase 10 fuel cell electric buses. The result will be less air and noise pollution from public transportation, two issues that disproportionately affect communities of color.


Update on PennDOT and Turnpike mid-year lettings

August 4, 2023 by · Comments Off on Update on PennDOT and Turnpike mid-year lettings
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Having crossed the halfway point of the calendar year, we wanted to provide a highway construction update. Typically, we focus on PennDOT lettings, but we thought this time we would include Turnpike projects as well.

As of June 30, PennDOT lettings totaled just over $1.6 billion, so it appears that PennDOT is well on its way to meet a projected $2.7 billion in lettings. But in addition to that, the Turnpike is expecting to spend a bit more than $903 million.

We have included a chart (click here to view) that tracks PennDOT and Turnpike lettings since 2014, the first full calendar year after passage of Act. 89. The best year since Act 89 was 2022, when PennDOT let more than $2.9 billion and the Turnpike let more than $1.3 billion.

We anticipate that even better years are ahead as the State Police subsidy from the Motor License Fund is phased out, and federal infrastructure funds are received.

We will keep you apprised as we move into the second half mark.


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