PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 25

June 22, 2020

PennDOT adjusts skills tests to lessen coronavirus exposure; appointments can be made online

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation skills tests have been modified to lessen potential exposure of staff and customers to the coronavirus “while maintaining the integrity of the testing process,” according to PennDOT.

Somerset approves deal with second group to help win Route 219 support

The Somerset County Commissioners have decided to double their lobbying efforts in a bid to gain lawmakers’ support that is needed to complete the last section of Route 219.

$125.4 million upgrades on I-78 and Route 61 started after coronavirus delay

Ronald J. Young Jr., PennDOT spokesman, said Wednesday it is unclear if the two-month delay in construction will have an impact on the overall project, which is expected to be complete in 2025.

Pa. Turnpike officials defend decision to make toll road cashless, lay off nearly 500 workers

A labor union that represents toll booth workers plans to take legal action against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission after it unanimously voted to lay off nearly 500 employees despite a contract that assured employment through January 2022, according to Teamsters International Vice President-East William Hamilton.

Invest in transportation and infrastructure for Pittsburgh region’s post-covid-19 future

As work continues in Washington, D.C., on future phases of the federal response to the pandemic, we are coming together — business and labor — to urge strong support for a robust transportation and infrastructure package.

T&I Republican slams transit’s ask for more funding

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a House Transportation member, took issue with a labor group leader for saying that transit agencies will need billions of dollars in additional funding to get through the coronavirus crisis.

Transit firms, agencies ramp up D.C. efforts

The transit world, including private contractors, are ramping up their efforts to get help from Washington.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 24

June 15, 2020

End in sight for years-long Route 322 Potters Mills construction project

The construction project that began nearly five years ago will have a new roadway and two new interchanges that will eliminate backups on both routes 144 and 322 and a smoother flow of traffic. The project is expected to be completed sometime this fall.

PennDOT focusing on CSVT river bridge

One month after the resuming work on the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway, construction teams are working on the mile-plus-long bridge that spans the West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Winfield, preparing to complete the concrete deck this year.

Transportation workers continue push for federal COVID-19 safety regulations

House members examined Tuesday how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted transportation workers, including truck drivers, flight attendants and transit operators.

26,000 drivers have received notices for speeding through work zones

Despite the lighter traffic, PennDOT District 11 Assistant Executive for Construction Jason Zang says, “Since March, statewide 26,000 notices have gone out, about 10% of those are repeat offenders.”



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 23

June 8, 2020

PA Turnpike to lay off hundreds of toll collectors

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Tuesday it will lay off 500 fare collectors and other toll workers and make the cashless tolling system permanent. The turnpike switched to all-electronic tolling in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFL-CIO calls layoff of PA Turnpike employees during pandemic ‘an extraordinary blow’

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO blasted the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for its decision Tuesday to switch immediately and permanently to a cashless toll system and lay off about 500 toll collection and office workers who process collection receipts.

Legislation would require turnpike commission to maintain beltway projects

Legislation recently introduced in the House would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to construct, operate, and maintain the Southern Beltway Projects.

PennDOT centers to resume driver’s skills tests

PennDOT has announced that beginning June 2, 2020, driver’s skills test, including motorcycle skills test, will resume at reopened Driver License Centers. Customers whose driver’s skills tests were canceled due to the COVID-19 emergency will be given priority in rescheduling skills tests by contacting the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services Call Center at 717-412-5300. All other customers will be able to schedule a skills tests in the appointment system beginning June 20, 2020.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 22

June 1, 2020

PennDOT announces additional drivers’ license and photo centers will open Friday in yellow phase counties

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that additional drivers’ license and photo centers in counties that moved to the yellow phase of COVID-19 mitigation will reopen Friday.

PennDOT again extends expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards

The extension applies to driver’s licenses, identification cards, land earner’s permits and camera cards that were set to expire between March 16 and June 30, PennDOT announced Wednesday. Those items are now good through June 30.

Tolling agencies delaying capital projects due to decline in revenue

Mark Compton, CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, noted that his organization plans to reduce capital investments by 24% and focus what remains on maintaining its 552-mile system, not expanding it to improve performance.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 21

May 26, 2020

Speeds of 100 mph or more, not congestion, are the concern for Memorial Day weekend traffic

Transportation officials are not worried about too many cars on the roads for the holiday weekend, but how fast drivers are going, and have been traveling, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government groups launch truck parking survey

Truck parking challenges in the Northeast amid the coronavirus pandemic — due in part to shipment type or route changes — are being surveyed by a group of 13 transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations.

PA Turnpike facing financial burden amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects almost every type of business, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is not being spared. Turnpike officials said they have been hit financially just like everyone else, and there’s no telling how they will bounce back.

PennDOT filling pent-up demand at driver’s license centers

Although she turned 16 in April, the closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19 meant that Laina Whipkey was barred from going to a PennDOT driver’s license center to test for her driver’s permit.