PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 4

January 23, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
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Allegheny Tunnel bypass plans advance

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving forward with a controversial project to construct 3.8 miles of roadway, cutting through the mountaintop, to eliminate the highway’s Allegheny Tunnel.

PennDOT to unveil plan to widen section of I-81

PennDOT is taking the next step in a project to widen the busiest stretch of Interstate 81 in part of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. The state will unveil its preliminary plans to widen I-81 between the Avoca exit (178) to the Biden Expressway (185) at a meeting next month.

$1.3B expansion of Mon-Fayette Expressway to begin soon

A $1.3 billion expansion project of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Mon-Fayette Expressway between Route 51 and Interstate 376 is expected to get underway soon, according to the Turnpike Commission.

First Active Erie bikeways will be along Greengarden, French Street

The bikeways will be the first of 12 recommended in the Active Erie Transportation Plan approved by Erie City Council in February 2021. The plan proposes safe pathways for cyclists and pedestrians, generally along streets with lower traffic volume and lower speed limits than main thoroughfares.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 3

January 16, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 3
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Shapiro nominates Carroll to lead PennDOT

Governor-elect Josh Shapiro Thursday announced four key cabinet appointments, including former state representative Mike Carroll of Avoca as the next Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation.

PennDOT reviewing bill to halt gas-tax increase

A spokeswoman for PennDOT said her agency is reviewing legislation passed Wednesday in the state Senate that would stop the automatic gasoline tax increase taking effect this month, and permanently set the average wholesale price at $2.99 per gallon in a bid to end future tax hikes.

Two men charged in scheme to defraud PA Turnpike of a million dollars in tolls

Two men have been charged with a scheme to defraud the Pennsylvania Turnpike out of millions of dollars in tolls, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Lower public transit use in Pa. poses long-term budget problems

Though public transit ridership has significantly fallen since the pandemic, transportation assistance programs in Pennsylvania have seen a boost. That’s why the PennDOT recently drew attention to the growing source of ridership available to qualifying residents.

​More than 12,500 Pennsylvanians connected to transportation assistance programs

The Pennsylvania departments of Transportation and Human Services urged Pennsylvanians to use Find My Ride to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs. More than 12,500 Pennsylvanians have been approved for services since FMR launched in May 2021.

Bills to end gas tax hike, cap highway funding transfers pass through Pa. Senate committee

Pennsylvania’s Senate Transportation Committee advanced two bills on Monday that separately propose to end this year’s state gas tax increase and to cap the amount of money transferred annually to the state police from a dedicated fund for road repairs.

 

PennDOT secretary-nominee somehow seems familiar

January 13, 2023 by · Comments Off on PennDOT secretary-nominee somehow seems familiar
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Once he’s confirmed by the PA Senate, Josh Shapiro’s nominee to serve as PennDOT secretary won’t need to ask anyone for directions to PennDOT’s headquarters, or the governor’s office, or the Capitol complex hearing rooms and legislative offices, or where to grab a quick sandwich or salad for lunch.

Secretary-designee Mike Carroll will surely feel right at home in Harrisburg, where he has spent the vast majority of his career – a career that has been chock-full of transportation policy issues even before his 16-year stint as a legislator, capped off last year as Democratic chair of the House Transportation Committee.

His decision not to seek reelection saddened his cohorts on the committee, who knew him as a consensus-builder with a vast reservoir of institutional knowledge, but everyone eventually needs to try new things.

And now we know what his “new thing” will be. Having seen transportation policy through the lens of a congressional, gubernatorial and legislative staff member, and a state representative serving constituents in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties, his next chapter would keep him in Harrisburg, riding herd over one of the nation’s largest state departments of transportation.

The transportation industry welcomed the news of Mike’s nomination. APC’s Bob Latham said:

“We would be hard-pressed to name anyone more capable to lead PennDOT than Mike Carroll. His knowledge and experience with transportation issues began early in his career and continued through his years in the General Assembly. We are facing enormous challenges in funding and maintaining Pennsylvania’s 40,000 miles of state highways. The industry looks forward to continued partnership with PennDOT under Mike Carroll’s leadership.”

PHIA and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition also add their congratulations and well wishes. We anticipate a pivotal year in advancing transportation funding solutions and look forward to a fruitful 2023.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 2

January 9, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 2
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Sen. Langerholc reappointed as chairman of Senate Transportation

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) has reappointed Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) to lead the Senate Transportation Committee for the 2023-24 legislative session.

Sen. Flynn reappointed Democratic chair of Senate Transportation

Senator Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne) announced his reappointment as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Gov. Wolf announces grants for automated red light enforcement

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced that PennDOT will distribute approximately $15 million in Automated Red-Light Enforcement funding to 32 municipalities statewide.

Construction cleared due to Bayfront Parkway federal lawsuit dismissal

A federal judge has removed the legal roadblock to the $100 million project to improve the Bayfront Parkway, keeping on track an updated construction timetable that calls for work to start in the spring.

Pa. House bill would hit electric, plug-in hybrid drivers with mileage fees

A central Pennsylvania lawmaker has floated a plan that he says will help bridge the gap by authorizing a five-year pilot program that would levy mileage-based user fees on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 1

January 4, 2023 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 1
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Pa. Turnpike toll increase to start this weekend

In August, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved a 5% increase for customers using the E-ZPass and toll-by-plate systems across the state. The increase will take effect at midnight on Sunday.

Pa. rings in the new year with an increase in gas tax

Gas prices might be dropping on the national level, but Pennsylvanians are about to see increased gas taxes in the new year.

In new year, $250 in unpaid turnpike tolls could mean loss of vehicle registration

On Monday, a new state law will go into effect that suspends the registrations of Pennsylvania vehicle owners who owe $250 or more in turnpike tolls.

PA State Police announces Christmas holiday crash and enforcement results 

The Pennsylvania State Police investigated 661 motor vehicle crashes in which seven people died and 113 others were injured during the Christmas holiday weekend from December 23-25.

USDOT awards $273.9M to rural transportation improvement projects

PennDOT will receive $69 million as part of a more than $416 million project to construct approximately 6.1 miles of new four-lane limited access highway connecting U.S. Routes 11/15 near Selinsgrove to U.S. Route 15 near Winfield and will include an interchange and connector within Shamokin Dam to PA Route 61 into Sunbury.

Inflation could sap infrastructure act’s buying power this year

Inflation could severely weaken the impact of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, experts say.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 52

December 28, 2022 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 52
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Pa. gas tax expected to rise in 2023

PennDOT said there is a trigger in a 2013 state law that is prompting the boost of a few cents.

Some Pa. lawmakers want to prevent future automatic gas tax hikes

Pennsylvania’s taxes on gas and diesel are going up in 2023 because of a state law. The move is already drawing a response from some state lawmakers who want to keep this automatic increase from happening again.

Fern Hollow Bridge officially reopens

Less than one year after it collapsed on a cold January day, Pittsburgh’s Fern Hollow Bridge has reopened to traffic.

Consortium closes on first package of P3 bridge program

Bridging Pennsylvania Partners, a consortium comprised of Macquarie Capital and S&B USA Concessions – through Bridging Pennsylvania Developer I, LLC – has reached financial close with PennDOT of the first package of the Major Bridge P3 Program.

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 51

December 19, 2022 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 51
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Pa. ranks sixth in the nation for animal collisions

According to PennDOT, there were more than 5,700 deer-related crashes in 2021, up from almost 5,600 in 2020.

Gov. Wolf announces $5 million in grant funding to improve traffic safety

Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 20 municipalities will receive a total of $5 million in grant funding to install and maintain traffic signal technologies through PennDOT’s Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program.

New Amtrak trains coming for northeast routes, including NY, NJ, PA

The 83 new trains, which will replace 40- and 50-year-old fleets, will debut on 14 routes, including the

Wolf administration invests $26 million in rail infrastructure

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the approval of 24 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining more than 340 jobs across Pennsylvania. The State Transportation Commission voted to approve $26 million for the following projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 50

December 14, 2022 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 50
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‘Plastic roads’ are paved with good intention

Transportation officials in multiple states are testing whether roads made from grocery bags, juice cartons, printer ink cartridges or other discarded plastic can make pavement last longer, save money and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Turnpike’s Scranton Beltway hearing postponed until next year

The proposed Scranton Beltway project is delayed again and that means more waiting, frustration and anger for South Abington Twp. residents who live near the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Wolf administration, AARP highlight safety for mature drivers

Approximately 25% of Pennsylvania’s 9.1 million licensed drivers are 65 and older. In 2021 there were more than 19,700 crashes involving at least one driver aged 65 or older, which resulted in over 300 total fatalities. This represents about 17% of all crashes and about 25% of all fatalities.

Crashes, travel time are down on I-76. This is why

PennDOT says it’s seeing a reduction in both the number of crashes and travel time after launching a pilot program to change speeds along I-76 from King of Prussia to the U.S. Route 1 Interchange in Philadelphia.

Work zone cameras target speeders to keep road crews safe

The pilot program will be up for a vote next year and could end in Feb. 2024 unless officials decide to extend it.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 49

December 6, 2022 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 49
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REAL ID: Dept. of Homeland Security delays deadline to 2025

The Department of Homeland Security has delayed the deadline for air travelers to have a REAL ID another two years, the agency announced Monday. The program, which was to begin in May 2023, will now not go into effect until May 7, 2025.

Pa. Turnpike to implement open-road tolling in 2024

The 82-year-old Pennsylvania Turnpike is getting its next upgrade and stepping into the future in its cashless journey, by implementing open road tolling. Starting in late 2024, toll booth plazas will be a thing of the past.

‘We’re going to open here right before Christmas’

Another milestone was reached this week toward the opening of the new Fern Hollow Bridge. Crucial pieces for the last step are arriving on site.

Route 150 in Bellefonte reopens after wall collapse

PennDOT officials announced Thursday that Route 150 in Bellefonte would be reopened, by 3 p.m. following the weeks-long detour caused by the partial wall collapse last month.

Revenue Dept. releases November collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $257.2 million for the month, $7.9 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 $1.2 billion, which is $16.8 million, or 1.4 percent, above estimate.

Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection announces initiative to electrify freight trucks

The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection launched an initiative Thursday to support a shift toward electric freight trucks.

Deana’s Law for repeat DUI offenders now in effect in PA 

Deana’s Law, toughening penalties for repeat DUI offenders, went into effect in November after a long journey through the state legislature, reports The Morning Call.

New Pa. Turnpike tolling system to pave way for 3 new exits

Even after cash tolls went away, toll collection on the Pennsylvania Turnpike has not only monetary costs but also environmental ones. That’s because you have to slow down before you speed up again to use the fast road, which wastes gas, not to mention time.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 48

November 30, 2022 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 48
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How the interstate highways transformed America

Like seams on a quilt, they run across the country, with every mile serving as a stitch in the needlework. As interstate highways sew together pieces of geography, they help connect cultures and economies scattered from sea to shining sea.

The Roosevelt Blvd. subway is back on the table

The momentum to finally build the Roosevelt Boulevard subway continues as residents from Northeast Philadelphia and across the city met once again in October for a second community workshop.

EDITORIAL: Pedal forward with bill for bike safety

According to PennDOT, 24 bicyclists were killed in Pennsylvania crashes in 2021 and another 754 were injured. Almost all of the crashes involved cars or trucks, and a majority occurred at intersections.

Bellefonte Boro council gives update on wall collapse

According to Bellefonte Borough Council, PennDOT has indicated it’s currently reviewing repair options for the bridge. The repair work is estimated to take two months to complete once started. PennDOT officials are currently surveying the grounds.

PennDOT offers tips to secure mailboxes

​With the winter season’s arrival in the northwest region, PennDOT is reminding residents of steps they can take to secure their mailboxes and properly maintain driveway entry points.

 

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