PHIA News Digest — Vol. 6, No. 50

December 20, 2021

Rep. Wild announces $1.17 billion from infrastructure bill for PA

Over a billion dollars’ worth of infrastructure investments will be coming to the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed in November, according to Representative Susan Wild’s office.

NEPA business, tourism leaders express support for Scranton-NYC Amtrak route

The push is on in northeast Pennsylvania to show support for Amtrak’s proposed Scranton-NYC route, with business and tourism leaders endorsing the project as signatures fill a petition organized by an advocacy group.

Pa. OKs $33 million in grants for freight-rail projects

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the approval of 25 freight-rail improvement projects that will receive a combined $33 million in state funding.

Automated Speed Enforcement’s program awards Philadelphia $22.1 million

Pennsylvania’s Automated Speed Enforcement program recently awarded Philadelphia $22.1 million for eight traffic safety projects.

Senator Casey and leaders discuss investments in public transportation

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey met with transportation officials and Altoona elected officials Monday to discuss the possibilities with the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Battle over tolling I-79 plus 8 other interstate bridges rages on

PennDOT is pressing ahead, laying the groundwork for charging tolls on nine bridges across Pennsylvania to raise money for repair and replacement.

Sens. Blunt, Warner reintroduce bill to improve U.S. infrastructure

Thursday, U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Reinventing Economic Partnerships and Infrastructure Redevelopment (REPAIR) Act to help close the infrastructure gap.

Thompson meets with Highway Administration in opposition to bridge tolling

U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson on Tuesday hosted a meeting with the Federal Highway Administration to voice his concerns over PennDOT’s plan to toll nine major bridges throughout Pennsylvania.

PennDOT announces new 511PA features

The PennDOT announced updates to the 511PA traveler information service including new features and alert customization for passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle drivers.



PHIA News Digest — Vol. 6, No. 49

December 13, 2021

Scranton Beltway project moving forward

Work on the Scranton Beltway project is back on, now that money for the project is flowing again. The $160 million plan aims to cut traffic on Interstate 81 in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties and drive it onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Route 476).

Rte. 981 improvement fully funded with injection of $30M

PennDOT has designated an additional $30 million for the Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project, completing the funding needed to construct Route 981 corridor upgrades and realignment between Norvelt in Mt. Pleasant Township and Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity.

Lehigh River Bridge is under consideration for being tolled

It was Carbon County’s turn to respond to PennDOT’s plan to toll nine bridges, including three here in our area, in an effort to pay for expensive repairs.

Tolls to increase 3% on NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) will raise tolls by 3% starting Jan. 1, according to reports. The increase is the second toll increase in as many years.

No toll hikes for DRPA’s New Jersey, Pa. spans

It will cost motorists the same to cross the Delaware River Port Authority’s bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania next year.

Bill would save Turnpike E-ZPass customers from surprise charges

A Channel 11 News investigation could lead to a change in state law to help protect Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission E-ZPASS customers from surprise charges.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 48

December 7, 2021

Revenue Department releases November collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $253.1 million for the month, $4.7 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 $1.2 billion, which is $47.1 million, or 4.0 percent, above estimate.

State senator seeks to bring back Turnpike toll workers

Sen. Marty Flynn, D-Scranton, said his plan stems from the amount of tolls — $104 million – that went uncollected on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the past year.

At the PhilaPort, long-term problems and short-term staffing issues collide

Trucking and marine shipping experts say labor shortages and infrastructure issues are partially hampering the flow of goods in and out of Pennsylvania.

Phony budgets bring us infrastructure woes

I’ve argued the biggest reason for this mess, for our roads and bridges consistently ranked among the nation’s worst, is our government’s consistent refusal to fix it. But it’s shoddier than that. It’s deliberate misuse of funding to fix it.

How will Pa. use infrastructure money?

Tuesday’s Smart Talk focuses on Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs and projects and how the money will be spent. Appearing on the program are Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, Patrick McDonnell, Larry Shifflet, Deputy Secretary for Planning with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Cathy Farrell, Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Report Card produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Gene Barr, CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

PennDOT to display plans online for I-70, Laurel Valley projects

The I-70 plans will be available at from 5 p.m. Wednesday through 5 p.m. Dec. 17. The website will contain project design details, with visitors able to provide feedback and sign on to a project contact list.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 47

November 29, 2021

Thruway within a year of partially opening

Kim Smith, a press officer for PennDOT’s District 3, said the northern section is more than 90 percent complete.

USDOT awards $15M grant to SEPTA

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded SEPTA a $15 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant.

PA Turnpike reform package planned in Harrisburg

After more than $104 million in Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls went uncollected last year, a state senator says he’s come up with a way to prevent future losses.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 46

November 22, 2021

PA highways rank at bottom of list in nationwide study

A new study ranks the keystone state’s roads near the bottom compared to the rest of the country. Overall Pennsylvania ranked 39th in road conditions and cost effectiveness.

Officials explain how infrastructure law will benefit African Americans

Whether it is expanding child care, making sure that children have access to clean water or investing in broadband and public transportation, most everything in the $1 trillion infrastructure law will benefit African-American communities, according to some federal lawmakers.

Johnstown’s $24M transportation grant is state’s biggest winner

The city of Johnstown was one of just three Pennsylvania communities to receive an influx of U.S. Department of Transportation funds this week to revitalize and connect commuter corridors. In total dollars, the city was the state’s biggest winner, receiving about $24.5 million received this week to develop the two-mile-long Iron to Arts Corridor.

Pa. can build a clean electric vehicle future

To protect our economy and lives from devastating climate change, the future of transportation on our roads must be based on electric power. Twenty-nine percent of greenhouse gases nationwide are generated by transportation—the largest percentage of any sector of the economy.

State plans to finish U.S. 219 in Somerset County by 2031

With billions of new dollars bound for Pennsylvania highway projects and preliminary studies ongoing for the last four-lane segment of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County, PennDOT plans to open the road to traffic by mid-2031, the Somerset County commissioners announced Thursday.

House votes to void PennDOT’s bridge-tolling plan

Legislation that has the potential to hit the brakes on Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s plan to toll as many as nine major interstate bridges, including the I-83/South Bridge in Harrisburg, won approval by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday.

CSVT eligible for federal infrastructure funding

The Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project is eligible for funding as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, which is set to receive $1.25 billion over five years from the federal infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden on Monday.

Pa. Republicans file suit against PennDOT bridge tolling plan

Republicans have now filed suit in Commonwealth Court. The suit alleges PennDOT did not undergo a fair review process before announcing the plan for Pennsylvania bridges.