PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 21

May 23, 2017

PDSITELOGO2PennDOT unveils three alternate routes for Routes 11/15 bypass in Snyder County

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has made public three alternate routes for the Central Susquehanna Thruway in Snyder County to avoid two fly ash waste basins.

Project design team members will display detailed maps of the alternate routes and be available to address questions at the meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Selinsgrove Middle School on 18th Street in the borough.

Mr. President, where’s that infrastructure plan?

Missing in action amid the hoopla on the barely passed House health-care bill and the broadly supported government funding measure is the promised infrastructure package by President Trump.

During a speech in Kenosha, Wis., on April 18, Trump declared that a sweeping change is on the horizon. “Infrastructure. Big infrastructure bill,” he said. “Infrastructure is coming, and it’s coming fast.”

But just a month before, Philadelphia’s city planning director, Anne Fadullon, had addressed the National Press Club in Washington about the uncertainty of necessary infrastructure reform. “We have no more information than you do,” she said.

Should struggling airports be turned over to companies?

St. Louis has a vexing problem with its airport: It’s too big.

Lambert International today handles only about half as much traffic as it did just over a decade ago. That’s left the facility with more than enough runway capacity and a lot of empty gates.

Why the precipitous drop in traffic? Airline consolidations. When American Airlines took over TWA, which was based in St. Louis, it stopped using Lambert as a Midwestern hub.

State officials discuss bicycle safety, improvements for cyclists

With the start of Bike to Work week, the Wolf administration announced a series of improvements for bicyclists during an event featuring an executive bike ride around Harrisburg by several cabinet members and others. Representatives from PennDOT and the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, Health and Labor & Industry joined in the ride.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 20

May 15, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Pa. boroughs, townships divided over Wolf’s proposed state police fee

Two local government organizations appear divided over Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to impose a $25-per-person fee on municipalities that rely solely on state police for protection.

Elam Herr, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, said his members are wary of the fee because they fear it will eventually increase. Ed Troxell, a top lobbyist for the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said his members recently approved a resolution supporting a per-person user fee for municipalities with a population of more than 4,000.

Should PennDOT pay for most state police costs?

We’ve got to solve the Pennsylvania state police funding problem…so said one state representative Friday.  Right now, the state police budget is $1.2 billion and most of that comes from state transportation funds.

State house member Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108th, Sunbury) says this is a big problem, “We need to come to some consensus as to how we will fund the State Police, because we are taking money out of the motor license fund right now which is in the future going to hinder future road projects and maintenance.”

Municipalities to receive funds for upgrading traffic signals

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced that 94 municipalities across the state will receive $33 million to support the costs of upgrading traffic signals under PennDOT’s “Green Light-Go” program.

The reimbursement grant awards can be used on existing traffic signals to install LED technology, upgrade traffic signals and perform operations such as retiming, developing special event plans and monitoring traffic signals.

Raising the gas tax is no longer taboo in many states

While raising the gas tax is still a politically treacherous idea in Washington, lawmakers in state capitals are increasingly coming around to it. Already this year, governors in California, Indiana and Tennessee signed laws to raise fuel taxes, meaning a total of 22 states have passed laws imposing higher gas taxes in the past five years. Chances are also good that the list will grow even longer this year. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 19

May 8, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Analysis concludes municipalities with own police force pay twice the tax burden

A new report by a Pennsylvania bipartisan think tank asserts police departments are a burden to municipalities with local departments while those who rely solely on state police may get a free ride.

The report by the Pennsylvania Economy League released last week focuses on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to charge $25 per person to municipalities without police departments, the latest proposal in what has become an ongoing debate about who should bear the cost of police services throughout the commonwealth.

PennDOT Secretary Richards receives Peter Quinn Award

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards was given the Peter P. Quinn leadership award from the Greater Valley Forge (GVF) Transportation Management Association at a ceremony today in King of Prussia.

The Quinn award is given annually to recipients who have embodied his spirit of leadership and his belief of giving back selflessly in all that you do.  Quinn, the late founding director of GVF, worked in many different industries and leadership positions across the U.S. and throughout the world.

High-tech signals keep Monroeville-Murrysville traffic flowing

In the 30 years Shelley Earhart has lived in Monroeville and traveled U.S. Route 22, she doesn’t remember the commute being as easy as it has been over the past two years.

Traffic on Route 22 is running a whole lot smoother thanks to a $2 million traffic signal project that can think on the go — with the help of some very complicated algorithms.

Some of Pa.’s wealthiest communities get state police coverage at no cost

About half of communities home to 21 percent of the state’s residents don’t have their own police force, instead relying on state troopers.

For years, there have been complaints that this setup is unfair and proposals to address the issue — to no avail. A new study’s put hard numbers on the long-term effects of this setup. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 18

May 1, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Public bus system moves forward

LOCK HAVEN — The initiative to determine if a public bus system can fit the dynamics of rural Clinton County took a step forward Thursday.

The county commissioners and their partners are looking into the possibility of applying for a three-year demonstration grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PennDOT ready for input on southern section of CSVT

MONTOURSVILLE– PennDOT’s first draft of the CSVT Southern Section design…will soon be unveiled.  The public will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on The Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation project southern section at a public meeting to held by PennDOT.

On May 25 at the Selinsgrove Middle School, PennDOT’s project design team will make a presentation at 6:30 p.m. An open house will follow and project design team members will be available to address question and receive feedback.

Changes to Pennsylvania State Police funding conceivable

In the state of Pennsylvania there have been significant conversations about the Motor License Fund.

According to the fund, money from gasoline and other fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and license taxes, are put into the fund for the construction, maintenance and repair of/and safety on public highways. Currently this includes funding for the Pennsylvania State Police.

Currently, the fund is having a difficult time covering all aspects under the Motor License Fund and the state Legislature has put a cap on the amount of spending for the fund.

PennDOT announces $195 million in north central PA infrastructure projects

Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Department of Transportation announced a string of projects, based largely in the north central Pennsylvania region. The projects will cost a combined $195 million to improve roadways and bridges, according to a release.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 17

April 24, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Trillium CNG opens its first CNG location in Cambria County

Officials with PennDOT and the Cambria County Transit Authority celebrated the opening of the commonwealth’s newest compressed natural gas fueling station in Johnstown.

The facility is the first of 29 CNG stations Love’s Trillium CNG will design, build and maintain for numerous transit authorities in Pennsylvania as part of a public-private partnership contract PennDOT awarded to the company last year.

Drivers’ use of hand-held devices must be banned

Fewer people died in Pennsylvania traffic crashes in 2016 than in any year since record-keeping began in 1928. According to PennDOT, 1,088 fatal crashes claimed 1,188 lives last year, down from 1,200 deaths in 1,102 fatal crashes in 2015.

There are many reasons for the improvement, from less driving under the influence to improving vehicle and highway safety engineering.

I-95 in Philly: When all this roadwork will finally be done, by neighborhood

Construction on Interstate 95 in the Philly area will continue well through the next decade — maybe longer, especially if the city gets its wish and adds a capping project connecting the city with the Delaware River over a piece of the highway.

But there’s always some good news: PennDOT’s making progress on a number of projects along 95 and hopes to wrap up several this year, including opening ramps near Fishtown and completing construction near Cottman Avenue.

From PennDOT to Uber, all the ways Pittsburghers can learn about self-driving cars

Pittsburgh is one of two U.S. cities where you can ride in a self-driving car. It’s home to decades of autonomous vehicle work at CMU.

But there are no state laws specific to testing self-driving cars (yet). And there’s no designated person or entity considered the main resource on the technology.

So who is educating Pittsburghers about this technology and its impact? Right now, the bulk of public awareness falls to PennDOT.


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