PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 19

May 7, 2024

State reps. want to study local fee for State Police services

State Reps. Tim Brennan, D-Doylestown, and Michael Sturla, D-Lancaster, are circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum for legislation that will study a fee on municipalities that don’t have their own police force.

Md. officials release timeline, cost estimate for rebuilding bridge

The state plans to build a new span by fall of 2028, said David Broughton, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Transportation. He said the cost estimate is preliminary, and detailed engineering specifics have not been confirmed.

Revenue Department releases April collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $270.0 million for the month, $22.4 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine, and fee revenues – total $2.5 billion, which is $8.1 million, or 0.3 percent, above estimate.

Pa. delegation’s plea for federal aid in infrastructure overhaul

A united front of 18 members from Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), drafted a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The group urged critical federal funding to replace the Interstate 83 John Harris Memorial Bridge, or the I-83 South Bridge.

Meet Mason Jones, “The Guardrail Kid,” helping PennDOT scout dangerous guardrails

Mason Jones is known as “The Guardrail Kid” on TikTok to his 19,000 followers but he’s also known to road safety advocates, guardrail industry heads, and managers with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PA Turnpike emphasizes year-round safety as Distracted Driving Month ends

Even though April 30 marks the end of National Distracted Driving Month, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wants to remind drivers that safe driving is a year-round event.

Pa.’s Aurora Innovation to debut self-driving trucks onto U.S. roadways

On a three-lane test track along the Monongahela River, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rounded a curve. No one was on board. A quarter-mile ahead, the truck’s sensors spotted a trash can blocking one lane and a tire in another. In less than a second, it signaled, moved into the unobstructed lane and rumbled past the obstacles.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 18

April 29, 2024

Advocates team up to fight Turnpike’s plan to cut ‘permanent scar’ through Allegheny Mountain

Atop the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountain ridge, Randy Musser was surrounded by nature – and faced the unsettling thought that it could be disrupted forever.

PennDOT announces EV funding details

PennDOT announced program details for Round 1B of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding opportunity. The proposal period will open on May 13, and close on July 10 at 5:00 PM EDT.

PennDOT suspends I-83 construction project in wake of work-zone fatalities

Officials with PennDOT say the construction project on Interstate 83 in York County has been suspended due to last week’s fatal crash that claimed the lives of three local men.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 17

April 22, 2024

Economic fallout from Baltimore’s bridge collapse hits home

Maryland legislators are taking steps to protect workers and businesses affected by the port and highway closure. There are broader, indirect effects, however, that are creating additional uncertainty.

Pa. crash statistics for 2022

There were 115,938 traffic crashes in the Commonwealth in 2022, the most recent year for which crash data are available. Those crashes claimed the lives of 1,179 people and injured 67,012 others.

PennDOT and lawmakers share plans for I-80/I-99 high-speed interchange project in Bellefonte

PennDOT and local lawmakers are highlighting the start of construction season in Pennsylvania, including a long-awaited project that will connect two interstates in Bellefonte. This is the third and final phase of a project that was announced in 2018.

SEPTA serious crimes down 45%, mirroring national trend

Philadelphia residents have had to suffer more criminal activity in recent years, but the tide may be turning. Though some violent crime rates are still higher than before the pandemic, public transit is getting safer.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 16

April 16, 2024

Push to protect workers during Work Zone Awareness Week in Pa.

“Behind every barricade and detour are men and women risking their lives to improve our infrastructure,” Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jessica Tobin said. “They are our brothers, sisters, and friends; they deserve our utmost respect and vigilance.”

The state of Pa. bridges

Pennsylvania’s bridges are second-worst nationwide with more than 3,000 in “poor” condition, per the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

New Pa. law would require hands-free cellphone use while driving

A bill making its way through Harrisburg is calling for no more handheld cellphone use while driving. Lawmakers want to stop crashes and tragedies that take lives. Currently, you can answer and talk on your phone as you drive, but with this bill, you can still talk on the phone while you drive but can’t be holding it.

Permanent fix of I-95 after collapse in Philly “about three-quarters of the way done”

Traffic on I-95 was shifted into the newly constructed outside lanes in November 2023. Since then, construction of the middle section of the highway has continued. Construction crews recently placed the concrete for the new back wall in the northbound lanes of I-95.

Norfolk Southern has agreed to $600 million settlement in 2023 East Palestine derailment

Norfolk Southern announced Tuesday it had reached a $600 million class action settlement in the February 2023 derailment of one of its freight trains in East Palestine, Ohio. The company did not admit to any liability, wrongdoing or fault in the settlement, which still needs to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Pgh.-New York train expected to cost $8M annually to operate

Pennsylvania’s travelers and train enthusiasts celebrated last fall when Amtrak announced twice-a-day service from Pittsburgh to New York via Harrisburg. Expanding service, though, will require a hefty investment to upgrade infrastructure and millions more in operating costs every year.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 15

April 10, 2024

Pa. Turnpike Commission warns of E-ZPass scam

The texts say they’re from “PA Turnpike Toll Services” and include “urgent requests” about the accounts’ overdue balance and coming late fees, according to a release from the Turnpike Commission.

In Md. appearance, Biden pledges federal support to rebuild collapsed bridge

President Joe Biden traveled to Maryland on Friday to tour the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge by helicopter before meeting with the families of the construction workers who are presumed or confirmed dead after the collapse last week.

PennDOT checks safety of structures after earthquake

The tremors of the earthquake felt across our area put PennDOT into action checking the safety of our local bridges and structures.

I-95 NB in Philly reopened after repairs made to Conrail bridge

The northbound lanes of the highway had been closed since April 1, when a tractor-trailer struck the bridge around 1:30 p.m., forcing the closure of I-95 NB near the Betsy Ross Bridge.

Gov. Shapiro announces $20 million for electric vehicle infrastructure

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration recently announced a $20 million investment for electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Pennsylvania.

Letter regarding authorization for rebuilding Francis Scott Key Bridge

We stand ready to work with the Congress to ensure the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland have what they need to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which is critical to the nation’s workers and economy.

PA invests more than $105.6 million on community and transportation projects

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger announced 244 new projects totaling more than $105.6 million were approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Revenue Department releases March collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $236.8 million for the month, $16.1 million above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $2.3 billion, which is $30.5 million, or 1.4 percent, above estimate.