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.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 4

January 25, 2021

Biden cabinet: Buttigieg urges big funds for transportation

President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, was headed down a smooth path to quick confirmation, pledging to senators on Thursday to work with them to carry out the administration’s ambitious agenda to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

Turnpike CEO elected president of International Transportation Association

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton has been elected as the 2021 President of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

Penn Station sets out to transport people emotionally

When a blizzard shut down New York rail service in the winter of 1914, vaudeville performers stranded in Pennsylvania Station didn’t miss a beat. Led by the impresario Bert Williams, the singers and dancers and acrobats staged two days of impromptu performance, taking the magisterial marble stairway as their stage.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 3

January 19, 2021

Colin McNickle: Pa. Turnpike struggles continue

Awash in rising debt because of dubious public policies and struggling to overcome the financial effects of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission could find its very ability to operate in jeopardy, finds an analysis by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.

Johnstown lawmaker named majority chairman of state Senate Transportation Committee

A Johnstown area lawmaker has been picked to head the state Senate Transportation Committee.

Hennessey reappointed to House Transportation Committee

House Republican leaders have announced committee assignments for the 2021-22 Legislative Session, naming Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester/Montgomery) to his second consecutive term as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

USDOT awards $40 million in grants for commuter-rail crossing fixes

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $40 million in grants will be awarded to five states, including Pennsylvania, seeking to improve safety at grade crossings.

Wolf administration invests in rail infrastructure

Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of 26 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining more than 200 jobs across Pennsylvania.

Schultz sworn in as STB member, giving board a full five members

Michelle Schultz has been sworn in as the newest member of the Surface Transportation Board, giving the agency overseeing rail regulation a full five members for the first time since a law expanding its membership passed in 2015.