PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 9

March 1, 2021

Registration fees, fuel tax eyed for increases as state struggles to fund its highways, bridges

Pennsylvania has the second highest gasoline tax in the U.S. after California and with more electric cars in the nation’s future, it means fewer funds will be available to pay for necessary highway and bridge maintenance, a Lycoming County transportation expert said.

Lawmakers working on bill to prevent PennDOT’s proposed tolling

When PennDOT announced they were considering tolling bridges, they did it without needing legislative approval. Business owners near the proposed tolling site say this could force them to close up shop for good.

Proposed bridge tolls could be the end of the road for the Pa. bus industry

The decision to toll bridges on the interstate system is one that the Pennsylvania Bus Association strongly disagrees with. Our industry already pays more than its fair share to operate on Pennsylvania roadways and additional tolls would only add to that increasing cost.

Bridge commission proposes system-wide toll hikes amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission wants to hike E-ZPass tolls by 25 percent and cash tolls by 200 percent later this spring to boost revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

PennDOT extends expiration dates on commercial driver licenses

PennDOT announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

PennDOT details funding problems and possible fixes

During its annual budget hearing Tuesday, the commonwealth’s Department of Transportation told House lawmakers it’s mulling ways to fix short-term funding problems –– without asking for more state money.

Pennsylvania ranks 17th in U.S. in switching to electric vehicles

Pennsylvania ranks 17th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in transitioning from gas-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles, according to a study conducted by the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 8

February 23, 2021

PennDOT announces ‘major bridge P3 initiative’

As part of its study to explore sustainable transportation funding methods and completing critical projects, PennDOT today announced the bridges being considered for its PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative, and the coming industry opportunities to participate.

Do you agree with PennDOT’s plans to add tolls on nine bridges across the state?


Editorial: The dollars and sense of toll bridges

PennDOT is planning to expand its network of toll roads with the Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative — a $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion investment in rehabilitation of up to nine Interstate bridges, announced in November.

DEP announces new funding to expand Pa.’s electric vehicle infrastructure

Efforts to expand Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle infrastructure are coming in the form of grant funding and new charging stations, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Friday.

Biden discusses COVID relief and infrastructure with top labor leaders

President Joe Biden told 10 top union leaders on Wednesday that his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan and a separate measure to modernize U.S. infrastructure would boost the U.S. economy and create millions of good-paying jobs.

Pennsylvania State Police will escape legislative scrutiny in 2021 budget process

One of the nation’s largest statewide police forces, the Pennsylvania State Police, will not be subject to annual budget hearings, shielding the department from lawmakers who have used the forum in the past to question officials and hold them accountable.

State police should not be given pass in budget hearings

The Pennsylvania State Police is one of the largest police forces in the United States, with more than 4,200 troopers, 1,800 civilian employees and an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion. Yet as budget hearings got under way in Harrisburg this week, the House Appropriations Committee decided not to conduct a budget hearing for the agency.

Speed and you’ll get the picture

Motorists, beware. Those speed cameras at some work zones throughout the state that I warned you about last year are coming up on their first anniversary, and they are doing the job.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 7

February 16, 2021

Chamber pushing for radar in municipal police departments

The House Transportation Committee will soon be working on radar for every municipal police department in Pennsylvania, a topic that’s been pushed by the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee.

PennDOT to decide Thruway work plan for crews

PennDOT officials will have a plan within the next two months on whether construction crews will work 24/7 in the southern section of the $865 million Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project.

Solar farm designed to lower SEPTA’s carbon footprint

The 17.5-megawatt solar farm in Franklin County was recently made operational, marking a step in Pennsylvania’s decarbonization efforts. The project, Elk Hill Solar 2, developed under a power purchase agreement between SEPTA and Lightsource bp, is helping advance energy and sustainability priorities for both SEPTA and the commonwealth.

PennDOT offering Pa. homeless free ID’s

Pennsylvanians who are homeless are now able to get a free photo ID or renewal of a photo ID at PennDOT driver license centers throughout the state.

PennDOT wins national award for safety

PennDOT was recently recognized with two 2020 Annual Transportation Systems Management & Operations awards presented by the National Operations Center of Excellence.

Electric-powered trucks rule pursued in Pennsylvania

A renewed effort at the Pennsylvania statehouse would adopt a federal weight exemption for electric-powered trucks in place in the majority of states. Currently, the state of Pennsylvania authorizes electric-powered trucks to weigh up to 80,000 pounds.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 6

February 9, 2021

PA Motor Truck Association opposes bridge tolling proposal

With little public notice or attention, PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board approved the “Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative” on November 12, 2020 that will institute tolls on five to 10 interstate bridges across the Commonwealth.

Mississippi, Pennsylvania bills would revise speed radar rules

In Pennsylvania, a renewed effort would authorize speed radar by municipal police. The Keystone State is the only state in the country that prohibits municipal police from enforcing speed limits with radar. Since 1961, only state troopers are allowed to use radar.

Gov. Wolf calls for state police fee for municipalities… again

Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal once again includes a municipal fee that’s expected to raise $168 million for the Pennsylvania State Police. Unlike in previous years, when the proposal failed to pass the legislature, this fee would be charged to all municipalities based partially on services rather than focusing on a specific group of communities.

Senate confirms Buttigieg as transportation secretary

Pete Buttigieg won Senate approval Tuesday as transportation secretary, the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post. He’ll be tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and fighting climate change.

Toll hikes proposed for bridges crossing Delaware River between NJ, PA

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has proposed increasing tolls on eight of its crossings between New Jersey and Pennsylvania this year and again in 2024.



PHIA News Digest – Vol 6, No. 5

February 2, 2021

CDC to require face masks on airlines, public transportation

Travelers on airplanes and public transportation like buses and subways will be required to wear face masks starting next week to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Pa. Turnpike transfers $337.5 million to PennDOT

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission paid PennDOT $337 million on Friday as part of its yearly Act 44 obligation. It includes two payments from last year that were deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the regularly-scheduled quarterly payment.

Gov. Wolf urges Congress to prioritize critical infrastructure needs

As a new legislative session begins in the U.S. Congress, Gov. Tom Wolf today urged the Pennsylvania congressional delegation to prioritize critical infrastructure needs for the commonwealth as a part of any potential new stimulus package and infrastructure package.

PennDOT waives CDL test for qualified veterans

In an effort to help veterans with their transitions into civilian life, PennDOT and the DMVA are waving CDL requirements to qualified individuals.

Trucking industry warns tolls could ‘destroy’ businesses

A proposal to add tolls to some interstate bridges could “destroy” the state’s trucking industry, the head of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association told lawmakers Monday. The bridge tolling strategy “is the wrong approach to increasing the highway funding needed to keep Pennsylvania’s infrastructure sound,” said Joe Butzer, interim president of the PMTA. “This strategy will destroy the trucking industry,” he said.