PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 25

June 26, 2018

Experts say a regional approach is essential for tackling freight transportation

As construction of warehouses and distribution centers continues to increase throughout the region, the challenges of transporting all that freight continue to rise in importance.

PennDOT secretary addresses local freight issues at summit

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards reviewed steps Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has taken to address freight-related challenges at the first in-the-state summit.

To combat potholes, cities turn to technology

In a growing number of cities, including Omaha, Nebraska; Hartford, Connecticut; and San Diego, residents can download an app for reporting potholes. In Houston, residents can check out the Pothole Tracker app or log on to a website and see graphics and charts showing the city’s progress in fixing them.

How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects around the country

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

OOIDA seeks class action status for Pennsylvania toll lawsuit

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association are asking a federal court to grant class action status to their lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. If granted, more than 100,000 motorists could be potential class members in a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of “excessive” toll increases on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

New buses running on natural gas

This morning Amtran introduced five new compressed natural gas buses. They held a special ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at their operation center on Fifth Avenue in Altoona.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 24

June 18, 2018

Pennsylvania is the only state that bans cops from using radar

The state is the only one nationwide that bans municipal police officers from using radar to enforce speed limits. For the last 57 years, Pennsylvania has reserved that technology for state troopers.

Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan: Rob Peter to pay Paul

Raiding one tax source to pay for something else yields a vicious cycle. Politicians use crumbling roads as a justification to raise gas taxes. They use underfunded state worker pensions as a justification to raid the gas tax revenues, leaving potholes unfilled. Then potholes become an excuse to raise gas taxes further.

PennDOT to discuss regulations with autonomous vehicle operators

Autonomous vehicle operators will have a hand in shaping regulations that will govern how they test the technology on public roads. Within the next few weeks, PennDOT plans to meet one-on-one with the five self-driving car entities in the state.

Over $2.5 million funding Penn State’s transportation research program

Two and half million dollars has been granted to the Mid-Atlantic Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi-Modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 23

June 11, 2018

Casey joins local airport fight

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., took up the cause of west-central Pennsylvania’s rural airports last week, calling on the U.S. Department of Trans­portation to keep funding flights in Altoona and Johnstown.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE THRUWAY PROJECT: ‘Everything here is big … and dirty’

Half a century after the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation conceived of a mid-state highway — and after many years when plans had to be halted due to lack of revenue — the $670 million Central Susquehanna Thruway is now fully-funded, and construction is well underway. The northern section is due to be completed by 2022.

Elaine Chao touts rural benefits of INFRA grants at DOT ceremony

The latest Infrastructure For Rebuilding America grants will increase mobility in both rural and urban areas, according to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Bucks County contracts more than $2.5 million bridge projects

The commissioners unanimously voted last month to approve a $2 million contract with Easton-based construction firm Bi-State Construction Co., Inc. to completely reconstruct Bucks County bridge #220, located on Mill Creek Road over Martins Creek in Falls. The county will provide the full funding for the project, then receive 80 percent back through PennDOT’s retro-reimbursement program, according to Bucks Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler.

PennDOT expects to have section of Route 30 reopened by end of June

PennDOT expects to have a section of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh reopened by the end of June. Gov. Tom Wolf said the collapsed section of the road should be back open by June 26. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 22

June 4, 2018

Feds should step up

PennDOT contractors have been making tremendous headway in repairing a landslide along Route 30 in East Pittsburgh, and we hope state and federal disaster officials come through in equally fine fashion to help pay for the region’s many landslides.

Seniors making transition to the SEPTA key

With thousands of seniors moving to the future of fare payment with the SEPTA Key Senior Photo Identification Card, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will phase-out the paper PA Senior Citizen Transit ID Card at the end of the service day on Aug. 31.

$11.7M reconstruction set of Business Route 422 in Berks County

PennDOT has announced that work is scheduled to begin Monday, June, 4 to reconstruct Perkiomen Avenue/Business Route 422 in the City of Reading, Mt. Penn and St. Lawrence boroughs and Exeter Township.

Casey: Trump lacks urgency for infrastructure funding

Sen. Bob Casey on Thursday said he’s disappointed with President Donald Trump’s inaction on infrastructure funding, especially because Casey for years has been working across the aisle with Republicans on the issue.

Will self-driving vehicles finally bring broadband to rural America?

Autonomous vehicles will need ubiquitous connectivity, and there’s a role for government and industry to finally make it happen. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 21

May 30, 2018

Part of Port Authority’s state subsidy could be in jeopardy

The Pennsylvania Turnpike may not be able to make its quarterly $112.5 million payment in July to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for public transit due to a pending lawsuit filed by truckers who are challenging the payments.

What’s killing people on central Pa. roads? 2017 fatality stats revealed

In Dauphin County, fatal crashes killed nearly twice as many victims as homicides yet deaths on the roads don’t always command the same public attention.

Wolf says $180M will fill potholes, fix other winter effects

Pennsylvania drivers will be getting some relief from pockmarked roadways in the form of $180 million to fill in potholes and perform other work after the ravages of a tough winter.

Bill Peduto skeptical of Uber’s plans to resume autonomous-vehicle testing

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was an early champion of Uber moving to Pittsburgh, and then of Uber testing autonomous vehicles here. When Uber balked at working with city officials on a federal transit-grant application in 2016, things started to go downhill.

Pennsylvania offers funding for alternative fuels, vehicles

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced it is accepting applications for its Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program, which offers funding for the purchase and use of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles.

Uber aims to restart self-driving car tests in Pittsburgh this summer

Uber plans to resume testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this summer.

America’s boulevards of death

Across the country, the number of people who died while walking increased by nearly 50 percent from 2009 to 2016, from just over 4,000 to almost 6,000, at a time when traffic fatalities declined in many of our peer countries, including Britain and Canada.