PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 2

January 11, 2021

U.S. 219 improvements to benefit generations

With all the bad news a pandemic has brought in 2020, I applaud a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to fund $6 million for preliminary engineering work on Pennsylvania’s portion of U.S. 219 — the final leg of a highway system to connect Southwestern Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and West Virginia via a modern, four-lane thoroughfare.

Transportation Secretary Chao resigns over ‘traumatic’ Capitol attack

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Thursday she was resigning, making her the first Cabinet secretary to step down amid a wave of resignations from the Trump administration after the president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Buses running on state subsidies, federal money waiting

Despite COVID-19’s role as the culprit for dropping ridership by half at River Valley Transit bus service, the city has not had to dip into a $7.2 million Federal Transit Administration relief package — yet, city officials said.

New state law will improve access to ID cards and driver’s licenses

Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed Act 131 of 2020 into law, which will help homeless Pennsylvanians obtain ID cards, help residents with visual impairments earn driver’s licenses and update commercial driver’s license requirements.

Amtrak Keystone Service trimmed as 4 of 5 passengers stop riding

Beginning Jan. 4, more than a dozen Keystone Service trains will stop running on weekdays between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, as demand has dropped in the coronavirus pandemic to one-fifth of pre-pandemic levels.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 1

January 4, 2021

Pa. extends expiration on CDLs and commercial learner’s permits

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has extended expiration dates for commercial driver licenses. Expiration dates on commercial learner’s permits are extended, too.

Reminder: PA Turnpike tolls increase

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reminds drivers that toll increases announced earlier this year took effect Sunday Jan. 3 just after midnight.

Montco is betting on new highway extension to put Norristown on the map

After 20 years and $90 million, Montgomery County has completed a highway extension project officials hope will bring new economic opportunities to Norristown.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 51

December 28, 2020

Transportation funding would benefit region

One need not like projected President-elect Joe Biden or the incoming chief executive’s choice for U.S. transportation secretary to recognize a possible major opportunity for Pennsylvania, including this part of the commonwealth.

Financially stressed PennDOT should get $410M from new bill

Pennsylvania will benefit from a new target of funding in the federal stimulus package approved Dec. 21: state departments of transportation, where financially beleaguered PennDOT is expected to receive $410.1 million.

Cameras at Pa. construction sites nab nearly 192,000 violators in eight months

The 17 white Jeep Grand Cherokees are parked along road construction sites on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and state roads from Route 476 in Lehigh County to Route 28 in Allegheny County.

Pa. holds off joining regional program to cap emissions from cars, trucks

The Transportation & Climate Initiative aims to reduce emissions but also carried the likelihood of higher gas prices at the pump in participating states. Other governors also opted against signing onto the initiative. But Wolf’s move isn’t necessarily a permanent rejection of the concept.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 50

December 21, 2020

Biden to pick former rival Pete Buttigieg as transportation chief

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg to head the transportation department, according to three people familiar with the plans.

After 5 years, the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway bridge is ‘basically’ completed

It has taken five years but the nearly mile-long Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway bridge over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is “basically” completed.

Sens. Muth, Williams to introduce legislation to provide funding for transportation projects

State Sens. Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks) and Lindsey M. Williams (D-Allegheny) announced plans to introduce legislation that would authorize PennDOT to borrow funding to continue ongoing large construction projects statewide.

Address transportation funding

Are we eager for the prospect of being hit with tolls all over the state? No. But the very proposal should spur serious conversations about finding better ways of addressing transportation funding, once and for all. There’s no more time to wait.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 49

December 14, 2020

Pa. road deaths kept climbing even as millions stayed home

Despite a dramatic decrease in driving brought on by the pandemic this year, more people are dying on Pennsylvania roads than in 2019. And a Morning Call review of road fatalities in the Lehigh Valley suggests the trend may have been worse here.

PennDOT issues one millionth REAL ID

PennDOT on Friday announced it has issued its one millionth REAL ID product. The milestone is considered a major step toward providing REAL ID-compliant products to customers.

Report forecasts modest declines in 2021 construction market

The U.S. transportation construction market is expected to shrink 5.5% next year, driven primarily by the severe economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the annual forecast released Dec. 10 by the Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Funds earmarked for Pa.’s U.S. 219 roadway expansion study

Pennsylvania state officials said the Appalachian Program Development has earmarked $6 million in federal funding to aid the resumption of environmental studies regarding the U.S. 219 expansion.

Governor announces 13 municipalities will receive enforcement funds

Governor Tom Wolf announced that PennDOT will distribute $8.2 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement funding to 13 municipalities statewide to fund 16 safety projects.