PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 29

July 24, 2017

Unfair? Many states charge out-of-state E-ZPass users more for tolls

There’s an E-ZPass “border war” going on, reports the Albany Times-Union. Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine all charge higher tolls on E-ZPass users registered out-of-state than in-state, the newspaper says.

PennDOT planning a four-year, major overhaul of I-81 in Susquehanna County

PennDOT is gearing up for a major highway reconstruction project that will impact a nine mile stretch of Interstate 81.

Train stations in midstate could start to look different in coming years

A number of train stations in the midstate could start to look a little different in the coming years. PennDOT is looking to partner with private developers, and stations in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Mount Joy and Elizabethtown are on the list.

Pa. Turnpike will hike tolls for each of the next 27 years, driving away users, analyst says

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s ninth straight annual toll increase, approved by its board Tuesday, helps pay for turnpike operations, plus the highway’s $500 million annual capital budget and $450 million for mass transit systems, including SEPTA.

Barletta grieves PennDOT worker’s death

A Hazleton man’s death along Interstate 81 was mentioned by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta on Tuesday as he highlighted the need for stronger safety measures in highway work zones.

House panel approves transportation spending measure

The House Appropriations Committee July 17 approved, 31-20, legislation that would boost federal highway investment by $968 million in FY 2018 and cut a program that supports transit construction projects by $650 million.

Privatization plan hits turbulence; supporters still upbeat

A plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control operations has hit turbulence in the House, raising questions about whether one of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure priorities can survive.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 28

July 18, 2017

PDSITELOGO2On the road: Can America unjam?

I left sclerotic I-95 for SEPTA 10 years back. But true-believer road engineer Ananth Prasad, the former Florida highways chief who heads engineering contractor HTNB’s transportation group — they’ve been updating U.S. roads and trains since Henry Ford’s day — has me almost believing I could live to see I-76, Pa. 422, N.J. 42, and other jammed arteries pump us smoothly through the workweek if software, auto and construction giants, and government can apply digital tech for public advantage as well as private profits.

CATA ‘looking forward’ to fueling station, growth

More than 75 officials from Crawford County and the surrounding northwestern region of the state gathered Friday for the inaugural Crawford Area Transportation Authority Retreat. Work on a CNG-fueling station to service the vehicles began at CATA’s 2.35-acre Rogers Ferry Road property in April and is nearing completion.

Appeals court upholds Norco bridge contract

An appeals court has rejected a challenge to a multimillion-dollar contract to repair Northampton County’s aging bridges, upholding a project that county officials call the first of its kind.

Kriger Construction was chosen for the roughly $38-million deal to replace 28 bridges and rehab five others, under an innovative private-public partnership. But a competing contractor sued last year, charging a flawed bidding process when Kriger was selected.

Tuesday takes

How nice to hear that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to go after drivers who owe more than $17 million in unpaid tolls, violations and related fees. That includes $3 million owed by motorists in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 27

July 5, 2017

PDSITELOGO2PA’s rural roads among the nation’s deadliest and least maintained

Pennsylvania’s rural roadways and bridges are among the most deadly and least maintained in the country, a study released Tuesday shows.

While maintaining aging roadways, bridges and related infrastructure is a challenge across the country, maintenance and safety are a particular problem in rural areas, according to TRIP, a national nonprofit organization that reviews land-based transportation data.

Pay your tolls or face vehicle registration suspension

Do you have outstanding toll violations in Pennsylvania? Better pay up now, or risk your vehicle registration being suspended. Warning notices have been inserted with motor vehicle registration renewals about the new state law that takes effect on Aug. 4.

SEPTA fare increases begin

Electronic card or token single ride fares will increase from $1.80 to $2; cash fares will increase from $2.25 a ride to $2.50; and weekly TransPass fares will increase from $24 to $25.50. SEPTA says the hike will help fund everyday expenses like labor, fuel and power.

Transportation wish list includes more buses, new connector

To improve Southwestern Pennsylvania’s competitiveness and quality of life for 2.5 million residents, public transportation must be improved, particularly along busy corridors connecting Pittsburgh with adjacent counties.

First PennDOT review of Port Authority operations finds few problems

The first state-mandated review of the Port Authority since passage of a 2007 law has reached the same conclusion as the agency’s internal reviews: The authority has a few areas to address but is mostly on solid financial footing.

Last leg of Mon-Fayette Expressway OK’d

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission will include the last leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway project in its long-range plan. The regional body voted 47-4 to include the controversial 14-mile extension in the plan, with three representatives from Pittsburgh-area groups and one from Butler County voting against it.



PHIA News Digest – No. 2, Vol. 26

June 26, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Baer: Could Pa. courts do what lawmakers won’t?

I’m wondering whether Pennsylvania’s judiciary is on the edge of a new era, one in which our state government could actually improve.

Yes, judiciary is just one branch of a troubled tree. And it hasn’t been disease-free. But consider it in the context of the operational whole.

Balancing road repair, police service

State government faces many tough choices as it works very hard to strike a balance between meeting critical needs and keeping the burden on taxpayers as fair as possible. One such tough balancing act involves addressing law enforcement needs across the state and keeping our highway and bridge system in the best shape possible.

Major resurfacing project to begin on Schuylkill Expressway

A major highway connecting the suburbs to the city is about to get very busy with construction crews. The Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) will undergo a major asphalt resurfacing that will impact the commute of tens of thousands of drivers every day.

A better way to manage how we get around

Urban mobility is undergoing its starkest transformation since the first Model T rolled off the assembly line more than a century ago. Emerging services like car-, bike- and ride-sharing have provided city dwellers with a vast — and often confusing — array of options for getting around. And it’s too early to predict the impact of technologies that are on the horizon, such as driverless cars.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 25

June 19, 2017

PDSITELOGO2When it comes to building new infrastructure, there are no free rides: Robert Latham

We do not doubt that privatization can offer efficiencies and cost advantages, as well as shift some of the investment risk away from taxpayers.

Privatization does not, however, make the costs for infrastructure improvements magically disappear. In the case of highway improvement, the bottom line is that you can’t have financing without funding.

‘Economic roadmap’ will help locate opportunities

The Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway won’t fully open to traffic until 2024, but business leaders are wisely thinking now about how the Routes 11-15 bypass project will change the local economic landscape.

The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation are hosting an educational forum Wednesday designed to offer information on economic opportunities that may be created by the new highway.

Chokepoints: Road construction that may slow you down this summer

A number of projects taking place around the Capital Beltway — the loop around Harrisburg that’s a combination of interstates 81 and 83 and state Route 581 —  will affect almost everyone who travels in Dauphin and Cumberland counties this summer.

In addition, PennLive asked PennDOT representatives to identify the road construction projects in each district around the state, from Erie to Philadelphia, that will have the greatest impact on travelers.

Trillium CNG celebrates opening of York fueling station

Officials with PennDOT and Rabbittransit in York, Pa., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome the commonwealth’s newest public compressed natural gas (CNG) station. The facility is the second public CNG station Love’s Trillium CNG designed, built and maintains for numerous transit authorities in Pennsylvania as part of a public-private partnership PennDOT awarded to the company last year.


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