PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 4

January 24, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Delaware River turnpike bridge between Pa., N.J. will be closed at least 2 weeks

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s preliminary evaluation of a fracture discovered Friday on the bridge that carries Interstate 276 over the Delaware River has determined the need for a continued closure for an indefinite period of time.

Construction is now taking place to stabilize the bridge while engineers engage in a more comprehensive assessment and structural analysis necessary to determine a permanent repair plan, according to a press release.

Pittsburgh, Penn State chosen as national autonomous vehicle testing sites

Expect to see even more autonomous vehicles driving around Pennsylvania in the coming months. The federal Department of Transportation accepted PennDOT’s request to make Pennsylvania a National Proving Ground — testing site — for Autonomous Vehicle Technologies on January 19, one month after PennDOT submitted their application.

According to a press release, the DOT chose the 10 sites out of 60 applicants based on each site’s ability to manage various roadway states, safety conditions and types of vehicles.

Feds give Pa. an extension on identity card security upgrades

Thanks to an extension granted by the federal Department of Homeland Security, Pennsylvania has been given until early June to show compliance with “REAL ID” security upgrades.

The extension forestalls – to the great good fortune of event planners, delivery truck drivers and anyone else headed for federal offices, courthouses or military bases – the federal government’s refusal to recognize Pennsylvania driver’s licenses as a valid form of identification. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 3

January 16, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Our view: Onerous gas tax delivers needed repairs

It is easy, but too simple, to grouse about gas prices in this state. Roads and bridges make modern life and commerce possible. It simply won’t do to have them cratered and crumbling. Just a mile of two-lane undivided road in a rural area can cost $2 million to $3 million to build, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. If the state were not taking money out at the pump to fund roads and bridges, it would have to find the money somewhere else.

Wondering how to navigate a roundabout? PennDOT’s video shows how.

Because Pennsylvania is on track to install more roundabouts in the coming years, PennDOT created this video to show you just how easy they are to navigate. After you watch the video, you’ll know how to use both single and multi-lane roundabouts whether in a vehicle, on a bicycle or on foot. Keys to navigating a roundabout are to slow down and yield.

Lackawanna, Luzerne resume effort to merge public transportation

Vision is needed to see beyond the innumerable obstacles to good governance that are raised by Pennsylvania’s archaic system of fragmented, parochial local government. Duplication of local services and bureaucracies due to boundary lines on maps, rather than actual need and capabilities on the ground, wastes hundreds of millions of public dollars every year. It’s encouraging, then, that Lackawanna and Luzerne counties have resumed an effort to merge their public transit systems after abandoning the initiative in 2015.

Centre County considers $5 vehicle registration surcharge

On Tuesday, the Centre County commissioners provided an update to the $5 motor-vehicle registration fee increase ordinance proposed by the board last week. In 2013, the Act 89 transportation bill signed by then-Gov. Tom Corbett allowed counties to raise the vehicle registration fee by $5, but the county declined to take the necessary steps to do so until this year.

Gov. Wolf announces 51 projects to improve transportation alternatives

Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced 51 projects to improve transportation alternatives are in line for $33 million in federal funds. The complete list is available at the link above.

Uber lost $2.2 billion in Pittsburgh self-driving rollout, report finds

Ride-sharing giant Uber lost $2.2 billion in the first 9 months of 2016 as it prepared to launch an ambitious, costly and at times controversial fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in September, a new report finds.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 2

January 9, 2017

PDSITELOGO2PennDOT applies to be proving ground for autonomous vehicles

PennDOT recently applied to a U.S. Department of Transportation solicitation to be designated as an automated vehicle proving ground pilot to facilitate the safe and innovative development of these technologies. The proposal includes these venues:

  • Pittsburgh, building on the city’s leadership in development and testing for these vehicles and offering an urban environment, connected signals and multiple bridges and tunnels.
  • Penn State University, which has a closed track where commercial, transit and other vehicles can be tested at low speeds and with controlled incidents.
  • Pocono Raceway, which offers a closed track and is ideal for testing higher speeds, multiple connected vehicles (platooning) and other options.

PennDOT develops special website for Farm Show traffic

Want to visit the 101st Pa Farm Show but don’t want to get stuck in traffic? There’s an app for that. PennDOT’s new web page will provide drivers with travel times and route options for the Farm Show.

Rep. Carroll says Turnpike-State Police ‘shell game’ must stop

Over the last decade, the Pennsylvania Turnpike has developed its own tradition to welcome the new year: toll hikes.

“It needs to be solved and it has to be solved because this can’t continue,” state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-118, Avoca, a House Transportation Committee member, said last week.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 1

January 3, 2017

PDSITELOGO2PennDOT explains why gas tax hike is needed

The state’s gasoline tax increased on Jan. 1, the third and final increase that was part of Act 89 of 2013.

“In 2013, we were awarding about $1.6 billion a year in work. Now we’re up to about $2.4 billion,” according to PennDOT’s Rich Kirkpatrick. “That translates into many more miles of improvements, many more bridges that are repaired.” The increase should mean nearly a billion dollars more a year in road and bridge improvements.

PA transportation chiefs blaze a path for women in the field

In calling graduates to public service and exhorting them to challenge themselves, the speaker at Temple University’s College of Engineering commencement Dec. 22 — Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards — also shared a personal detail.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years and then worked part-time for the majority of my professional career,” said Richards, the first woman to hold the post. “It is possible to go in and out of the workforce without compromising your professional growth.”

The anecdote is important for Richards: It illustrates that a woman need not devote herself exclusively to her career to excel, and also is about a woman reaching the top of her profession in a field traditionally dominated by men.

PennDOT Dep. Sec. Fauver named to U.S. DOT Air Service Work Group

PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Toby Fauver has been named to a new U.S. Department of Transportation Working Group on Improving Air Service to Small Communities.

U.S. DOT announced that 25 members from federal, state, regional agencies airports, universities and air service providers were named to the group, which will advise Congress on priorities and funding needs for air operations in small towns.

Stuck behind a car crash? Pa. motorists will now get traffic, cleanup updates

The next time a massive snowstorm or multi-vehicle collision shuts down a Pennsylvania roadway for more than two hours, you’ll get a message telling you about the issue and what is being done to fix it.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the launch of 511PAConnect, a new tool that will provide information updates to motorists in the event of a long-term road closure due to accidents on state roadways, on Thursday.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 106

December 28, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Pennsylvania Transportation Planners Identify Critical Freight Corridors

The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study committee has approved a list of six regional roads that it believes are worthy of the “critical urban freight corridor” designation in the federal government’s new National Highway Freight Network.

Investing in our waterways

The need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure continues to garner bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., and the Pittsburgh region stands to benefit from recently passed legislation.

Earlier this month, Congress passed a multibillion-dollar infrastructure-funding package — the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act — which will make critical investments to maintain and improve our nation’s ailing waterways infrastructure. This legislation will have a major positive impact in southwestern Pennsylvania due to the importance that inland waterways and river navigation have on our region’s economy and quality of life. Indeed, from businesspeople to boaters to consumers, we are all affected by the stability of this system.


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