PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 11

March 11, 2019

CAT faces multi-million-dollar shortfall as lawsuit over Pa. Turnpike tolls lingers in court

Capital Area Transit is under new management, but now that state funding has been put on hold, any improvements the bus service has been making could stall out.

Lawmakers upbeat on ag budget proposal

Gov. Tom Wolf’s $24 million package to help Pennsylvania farmers has passed its first test in the legislature. During budget hearings this week, Appropriations Committee members in both chambers appeared generally favorable to the proposal.

State to begin study of hyperloop technology, potential Pittsburgh-to-Philadelphia route

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission this week approved a four-year contract worth up to $2 million for consultant AECOM to review the potential for a hyperloop system that would extend across the state.

Plan envisions adapting roads, expanding trails for walkers and bikers countywide

A plan scheduled for adoption next month aims at nothing less than “changing the culture of transportation” in Lancaster County. Currently in draft form, the 166-page Lancaster Active Transportation Plan envisions a county where communities are linked by trails for walking and biking.

State police issue 2K citations to commercial drivers during storms

State police noted enforcement wasn’t as extensive during this past Sunday’s storm, when commercial vehicle restrictions occurred on fewer miles of road in the central and eastern sections of the state. That was reflected in generally lower traffic incident numbers — 245 citations, 14 warnings and eight commercial vehicle wrecks on restricted roads.

City and autonomous vehicle companies agree to testing guidelines

An executive order signed by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday outlines objectives and expectations for the safe testing of autonomous vehicles in the city.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 10

March 5, 2019

Pennsylvania removes barrier to third-party EV charging station ownership

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has approved tariff supplements for four FirstEnergy utilities that will clarify rules around third-party electric vehicle charging in an attempt to encourage development of charging infrastructure.

PennDOT details new local access tied to I-80/I-99 interchange project

After being discussed for what seems like ages, the proposed high-speed interchange at Interstates 80 and 99 is kicking into gear with a $34 million federal grant received by PennDOT.

Commitment to Route 322 project is welcome, and long overdue

The old description of Penn State as “equally inaccessible from all directions” might finally fade in the rearview mirror with Gov. Tom Wolf’s February commitment to completing U.S. Route 322’s “missing link” near State College.

Pedestrian deaths up 41 percent in Pennsylvania

Fueled by ubiquitous sport utility vehicles and distracted drivers, Pennsylvania saw a 41 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2018 over a similar period the previous year, a new report has found.

2018 was the worst year for pedestrian deaths since 1990

Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise for a decade, reaching their highest level since 1990 last year. According to preliminary estimates, there were 6,227 U.S. pedestrian deaths in 2018.

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PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 9

February 26, 2019

Proposed state police fee would hit some municipalities hard

As a leader of a municipality that hasn’t had — or paid for — a police department in 15 years, Plymouth Twp. Supervisor Gail Conrad is open to a proposal to charge a per-resident fee for state police coverage.

Transportation projects ongoing throughout Cambria, Somerset counties

Improving the safety of existing roadways, using creative solutions to repair structurally deficient bridges and advocating for the connection of the area’s major highways with others makes transportation an ongoing theme in Cambria and Somerset counties.

Almost 40 SEPTA projects stalled over Pa. Turnpike lawsuit

SEPTA officials put almost 40 improvement projects on hold this month as it awaits the outcome of a lawsuit that could slash a third of its capital budget by this summer.

Pa. taxpayers continue funding state troopers in towns without cops after years of capitol debate

State lawmakers have been talking for years about changing that, but still can’t seem to agree on a way to do it. And the pressure has been building as the state has been tapering off diversions to the Pennsylvania State Police from the commonwealth’s Motor License Fund, which is intended to fund infrastructure repair and maintenance.

Senator calls on State Police to get creative with fee-based funding approach

Officials from the Pennsylvania State Police say their personnel and equipment budgets will be in jeopardy if the municipalities they police full-time don’t help them foot the bill.

Five Pennsylvania locations top nation’s worst bottlenecks

Five Pennsylvania locations made the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) top 100 most congested bottlenecks for trucks in the United States. The locations are I-76 at I-676 in Philadelphia, I-81 at I-83 in Harrisburg, I-476 at I-95 in Philadelphia, I-76 at I-476 in Philadelphia and Route 581 at I-83 in Harrisburg.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 8

February 21, 2019

AG: Rising police demand tied to pension problems

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale drew a link last week between helping struggling municipal pension plans get out of debt and easing demand for state police coverage in additional parts of Pennsylvania.

State Police nab 1,800 drivers for ignoring restrictions during winter storms

Pennsylvania State Police issued citations to more than 800 drivers of commercial vehicles — including tractor-trailers, flatbeds, box trucks and buses — for ignoring or violating emergency road restrictions during severe storms this week.

‘Roadmap’ puts DEP squarely behind greater use of electric vehicles

It may not be the Green New Deal, but a new report by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection tries to nudge the state toward greater use of electric vehicles.

Pennsylvania commits funding $670 million transportation project for State College connection

A $670 million project to improve the connection on U.S. Route 322 between the top of the Seven Mountains and State College will become a reality, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Rep. Smucker to serve on three transportation infrastructure subcommittees

Smucker will serve on the Hazardous Materials and the Subcommittee on Aviation, the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.



PHIA News Digest – Vol 4. No. 7

February 11, 2019

Change is coming for people who need rides to medical appointments, and LANTA is worried

Transportation authorities are warning the switch could mean a change in service hours, a change in providers and potentially higher costs for clients.

Pittsburgh residents don’t fear driverless vehicles, survey says

Pittsburghers are – by and large – comfortable sharing the road with autonomous vehicles, bucking national trends that show most U.S. drivers distrust driverless technology.

State, local leaders urge Congress to act on infrastructure plan

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti both told members of Congress how they campaigned to raise their constituents’ taxes for infrastructure, and emerged victorious.

Should all Pa. towns pay for police protection? Q&A with Rep. Mike Sturla

For more than a decade, state Rep. Mike Sturla pushed legislation to force municipalities that rely solely on the state police for protection to help pay for those services.

PhilaPort nears completion of deepening project

PhilaPort, the Port of Philadelphia, is nearing completion of the Delaware River Deepening Project. The project will create a 45-foot shipping channel capable of accommodating vessels as large as 14,500 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Municipalities would pay up to $7M for state police under Wolf’s proposed budget

Municipalities now getting free state police coverage would be asked to pay as much as $7 million for it under one component in the governor’s proposed budget.

Some love for the infrastructure we already have

While federal policymakers prepare to debate how they might provide more funding for new or improved infrastructure, state and local governments are beginning to tackle the long-neglected issue of deferred maintenance with money, muscle and spreadsheets.

Transportation Safety Board releases “Most Wanted” list for reducing traffic deaths

The National Transportation Board is working to decrease the number of traffic fatalities across the nation by targeting three key factors — speeding, alcohol and drug-related incidents, and distracted driving.