PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 24

June 13, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Council voices concerns on thruway project

The Shamokin Dam Borough Council is asking PennDOT to reconsider portions of the southern section of the $650 million Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway, including an abandoned option to connect Route 15 to the future highway before Winfield.

Data suggests cities are making progress in reducing pedestrian deaths

In recent years, a number of U.S. cities have been intently focused on reducing the number of pedestrians who are killed in traffic accidents. These cities have started to transform their streetscapes to minimize pedestrian, cyclist and motorist deaths as part of the Vision Zero movement, which emphasizes that no traffic deaths are acceptable.

But the big question about those efforts is just how effective they really are. Now, new data is emerging that gives policymakers a better picture of where Vision Zero is working. And more data tools are on the way that could help address dangerous conditions before traffic deaths or injuries occur.

Pa. legislators rally in support of Mon-Fayette Expressway extension

The Mon-Fayette Expressway extension from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville is a “once in a generation opportunity” to foster economic growth, a group of state legislators say.

They want officials at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT to stay the course on the long-standing project.

Who – or what – is driving that 18-wheeler?

We have seen the future, and it looked like a beer truck. In October, a tractor-trailer equipped with self-driving technology delivered a load of Budweiser 120 miles down Colorado’s Interstate 25. After navigating the roads from the brewery to the highway, the driver of Uber’s truck hit the “engage” button and left his seat. It was the first delivery of commercial cargo by a self-driving vehicle.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 23

June 6, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Gov. Wolf announces investments to improve nine airports

Nine airports will make safety upgrades and expand operation opportunities with the assistance of $10 million in state investments, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.

The funds are administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Aviation through the Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, which is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds. The program complements the state Multimodal Fund, which dedicates $6 million to aviation in this fiscal year alone.

The fund was created by Act 89, a far-reaching transportation funding program that clears the way for significant investments in all transportation modes.

Memorial reminds motorists to drive safely through construction zones

As road construction projects shift into high gear, the state Department of Transportation brought its Workers Memorial to Schuylkill County to remind drivers to use caution when traveling through work zones.

The memorial was set up Wednesday at PennDOT’s maintenance office in Schuylkill Haven. It will remain there for a week before traveling throughout the other counties in PennDOT’s District 5.

The 87 reflective vests and hardhats mounted on stands each represent a PennDOT employee killed while working since 1970.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – No. 2, Vol. 22

May 31, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Gov. Wolf, PennDOT announce 2017 highway improvements in SE Pa.

Gov. Tom Wolf and PennDOT today announced that more than $550 million in highway and bridge improvements will begin or be bid across the Philadelphia region during the 2017 construction season, bringing the region’s total contract work this year to roughly 125 projects worth $2.2 billion.

PA lawmakers advance multiple proposals for State Police funding, coverage

State lawmakers have been considering changes to how Pennsylvania State Police provide coverage in communities without local law enforcement, and how to pay for it. There are no fewer than five related proposals that have been introduced this session.

Residents voice their concerns about thruway project

Curiosity and concerns about noise and traffic brought out more than 300 area residents eager to know more about the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway, southern section — and three alternative routes that were developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to avoid construction on the two nearby fly ash waste basins.

The three routes, dubbed the western, central and eastern alternatives, came about after feedback received at a February meeting. Thursday night’s meeting filled the Selinsgrove Area Middle School auditorium, where PennDOT officials updated the crowd on progress made on both the northern and southern CSVT.

PennDOT abolishes the bikeway occupancy permit

After an 11-year advocacy effort, PennDOT has eliminated the bikeway occupancy permit and replaced it with bike lane request/approval letters. The occupancy permit, which had been law up until now, required a municipality that wanted a new bike lane to maintain any bikeway in PENNDOT’s right of way. Read more

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

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

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

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