PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 19

May 8, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Analysis concludes municipalities with own police force pay twice the tax burden

A new report by a Pennsylvania bipartisan think tank asserts police departments are a burden to municipalities with local departments while those who rely solely on state police may get a free ride.

The report by the Pennsylvania Economy League released last week focuses on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to charge $25 per person to municipalities without police departments, the latest proposal in what has become an ongoing debate about who should bear the cost of police services throughout the commonwealth.

PennDOT Secretary Richards receives Peter Quinn Award

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards was given the Peter P. Quinn leadership award from the Greater Valley Forge (GVF) Transportation Management Association at a ceremony today in King of Prussia.

The Quinn award is given annually to recipients who have embodied his spirit of leadership and his belief of giving back selflessly in all that you do.  Quinn, the late founding director of GVF, worked in many different industries and leadership positions across the U.S. and throughout the world.

High-tech signals keep Monroeville-Murrysville traffic flowing

In the 30 years Shelley Earhart has lived in Monroeville and traveled U.S. Route 22, she doesn’t remember the commute being as easy as it has been over the past two years.

Traffic on Route 22 is running a whole lot smoother thanks to a $2 million traffic signal project that can think on the go — with the help of some very complicated algorithms.

Some of Pa.’s wealthiest communities get state police coverage at no cost

About half of communities home to 21 percent of the state’s residents don’t have their own police force, instead relying on state troopers.

For years, there have been complaints that this setup is unfair and proposals to address the issue — to no avail. A new study’s put hard numbers on the long-term effects of this setup. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 18

May 1, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Public bus system moves forward

LOCK HAVEN — The initiative to determine if a public bus system can fit the dynamics of rural Clinton County took a step forward Thursday.

The county commissioners and their partners are looking into the possibility of applying for a three-year demonstration grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PennDOT ready for input on southern section of CSVT

MONTOURSVILLE– PennDOT’s first draft of the CSVT Southern Section design…will soon be unveiled.  The public will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on The Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation project southern section at a public meeting to held by PennDOT.

On May 25 at the Selinsgrove Middle School, PennDOT’s project design team will make a presentation at 6:30 p.m. An open house will follow and project design team members will be available to address question and receive feedback.

Changes to Pennsylvania State Police funding conceivable

In the state of Pennsylvania there have been significant conversations about the Motor License Fund.

According to the fund, money from gasoline and other fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and license taxes, are put into the fund for the construction, maintenance and repair of/and safety on public highways. Currently this includes funding for the Pennsylvania State Police.

Currently, the fund is having a difficult time covering all aspects under the Motor License Fund and the state Legislature has put a cap on the amount of spending for the fund.

PennDOT announces $195 million in north central PA infrastructure projects

Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Department of Transportation announced a string of projects, based largely in the north central Pennsylvania region. The projects will cost a combined $195 million to improve roadways and bridges, according to a release.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 17

April 24, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Trillium CNG opens its first CNG location in Cambria County

Officials with PennDOT and the Cambria County Transit Authority celebrated the opening of the commonwealth’s newest compressed natural gas fueling station in Johnstown.

The facility is the first of 29 CNG stations Love’s Trillium CNG will design, build and maintain for numerous transit authorities in Pennsylvania as part of a public-private partnership contract PennDOT awarded to the company last year.

Drivers’ use of hand-held devices must be banned

Fewer people died in Pennsylvania traffic crashes in 2016 than in any year since record-keeping began in 1928. According to PennDOT, 1,088 fatal crashes claimed 1,188 lives last year, down from 1,200 deaths in 1,102 fatal crashes in 2015.

There are many reasons for the improvement, from less driving under the influence to improving vehicle and highway safety engineering.

I-95 in Philly: When all this roadwork will finally be done, by neighborhood

Construction on Interstate 95 in the Philly area will continue well through the next decade — maybe longer, especially if the city gets its wish and adds a capping project connecting the city with the Delaware River over a piece of the highway.

But there’s always some good news: PennDOT’s making progress on a number of projects along 95 and hopes to wrap up several this year, including opening ramps near Fishtown and completing construction near Cottman Avenue.

From PennDOT to Uber, all the ways Pittsburghers can learn about self-driving cars

Pittsburgh is one of two U.S. cities where you can ride in a self-driving car. It’s home to decades of autonomous vehicle work at CMU.

But there are no state laws specific to testing self-driving cars (yet). And there’s no designated person or entity considered the main resource on the technology.

So who is educating Pittsburghers about this technology and its impact? Right now, the bulk of public awareness falls to PennDOT.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 16

April 17, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Decision expected in June on fate of Mon-Fayette Expressway’s last leg

Over the past 40 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has spent nearly $120 million on design, redesign, environmental impact statements and other elements for the proposed last leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

That 14-mile segment from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville, which has a revised completion estimate of $2 billion, was put on hold last month by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. The planning commission will decide in June whether the project continues or gets placed back on the shelf, where the former turnpike commission chairman predicted last year it would die.

Wolf administration announces traffic deaths dropped to record low in 2016

PennDOT today announced that traffic deaths in Pennsylvania reached a record low in 2016 with 1,188 fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways last year, a new low since record keeping began in 1928.

While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in run-off the road, hit fixed object, and drinking driver fatalities. Fatalities in run-off the road crashes dropped from 580 in 2015 to 518. Hit fixed object fatalities also decreased from 459 in 2015 to 401 last year. Deaths attributed to drinking-driver-related crashes declined to 263, down from 306 in 2015.

Widening I-81 far off

For local drivers who deal daily with heavy Interstate 81 traffic, major help isn’t on the way any time soon.

The long-discussed widening of I-81 to three lanes for more than 30 miles north and south between the Clarks Summit and Nanticoke interchanges remains dependent on funding that so far doesn’t exist, experts made clear at a Focus 81 meeting Wednesday. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 14

April 3, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Wolf administration, others promote Work Zone Safety Awareness

The Wolf Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Association of Pennsylvania Constructors today gathered to kick off Work Zone Safety Awareness Week – which runs through April 7 and honors lives lost – by hosting PennDOT’s statewide Workers’ Memorial in Harrisburg.

How Harrisburg (probably illegally) mishandles road and bridge funds

The legislature and governors, Republican and Democrat, Tom Ridge to Tom Wolf, annually siphon off funds allocated to fix roads and bridges, and use the money for something else — to bolster budgets of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Gov. Tom Wolf nominates John Wozniak to Turnpike Commission

Governor Tom Wolf announced today the nomination of former state Senator John Wozniak to serve on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Lawmaker proposes tax credit for E-ZPass customers

Bucks County Democratic State Rep. Perry Warren is proposing a bill to ease the financial burden that commuters continue to face with rising tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Warren says his legislation would provide a tax credit “of up to 50 percent on up to $1,000, so that would be a maximum credit of $500 on commuter tolls paid by E-ZPass on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Delaware Joint Toll Bridge Commission bridges, the Burlington County Bridge Commission bridges, and the Delaware River Port Authority Pennsylvania/New Jersey bridges.

Street sensors and cameras in Pennsylvania: Urban asset or privacy concern?

Have you ever been driving down the highway and suddenly getting the feeling that you’re being … watched? That’s how I felt last week when I drove from State College, where I live, to Harrisburg to meet with representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Facing possible state police service fee, Pa. municipalities consider options

As the state government considers whether or not to begin charging municipalities a service fee for relying on the Pennsylvania State Police, those municipalities are now facing a series of tough questions of what to do moving forward.


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