PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 17

April 22, 2019

Finally automating the PA Turnpike could ease money woes, But what about toll collectors?

The transition to an all-electronic tolling system has been nearly a decade in the making; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission first commissioned a feasibility study in 2010.

PennDOT expects to begin new $300M program for rural roads, municipal bridges this year

A year ago, Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation included $300 million in the state budget for new programs to pave low-volume rural and commercial roads and fix structurally deficient bridges owned by municipalities. Then Mother Nature stepped in.

Interstate system deteriorating, with no fix in sight

A recent 600-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — commissioned by the U.S. Transportation Department — concluded that federal funding for interstates should be increased from about $25 billion a year to $45 billion to $70 billion a year for the next 20 years just to bring the highways up to current design standards.

Lawmakers are trying to stop privatization of free medical trips for Medicaid recipients 

State lawmakers from rural Pennsylvania are pushing back on a privatization measure slipped into last year’s state budget that would affect transportation for at least 150,000 Medicaid recipients.

Pa Turnpike to seek feedback on possible resumption of mass transit borrowing

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has decided to seek feedback from the bond market as it mulls possible resumption of borrowing for mass transit, borrowing that has been suspended due to a lawsuit over toll hikes.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 16

April 15, 2019

PennDOT project in Northumberland joins thruway in costing more due to unexpected findings

The estimated cost of the Duke Street reconstruction project in Northumberland has jumped from $13.7 million to $15.2 million.

Returning to stickers for Pa. car registrations: ‘A public safety issue’ or an annoying backtrack?

Under Rep. Barry Jozwiak’s plan, annual safety inspections and registration would become a two-step process, resulting in a single, two-purpose sticker to be affixed to license plates, just like the old days. Emissions check stickers would stay as they are.

Pa. lawmakers try to stop switch of paratransit funding to private brokers

State lawmakers Tuesday moved to delay — and eventually kill, they hope — a planned funding change that could severely reduce subsidized rides to doctors’ offices and other medical appointments for the poor and elderly in Pennsylvania.

Next leg of Allegheny Township hiking, biking trail to be completed this summer

Work on the next leg of the Wynn and Clara Tredway Trail might begin by the end of April. The goal is to have the project done by late August.

Small business owners bear brunt of costs from deteriorating infrastructure

From product damage and vehicle maintenance to employee safety, small business owners are dealing with the day-to-day costs and concerns of stalled infrastructure investment. There has been some movement at the state level, with Ohio, Alabama, and Arkansas passing gas tax legislation in 2019 to help fund infrastructure work, but Congress has remained stagnant on any overarching federal infrastructure legislation.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 15

April 11, 2019

Judge rejects lawsuit over Pennsylvania turnpike toll hikes

A federal judge is dismissing a lawsuit over Pennsylvania Turnpike toll increases that are financing payments to help fund transit agencies.

OOIDA to appeal dismissal of suit challenging legality of PA Turnpike tolls

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will appeal a ruling issued Thursday in a class-action lawsuit regarding tolls on users of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Campaign urges safety in highway work zones

Three organizations came together Tuesday to push for work zone safety as part of National Work Zone Awareness week.

PennDOT accepting unsolicited public-private partnership proposals until April 30

The PennDOT Office of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) announced today that it is accepting unsolicited proposals for transportation projects from the private sector through April 30.

Revised thruway route gets environmental approval

The revised southern Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway route around, rather than over, two ash basins located west of Route 15, has received federal environmental clearance. The new route was found to have no significant environmental impact on the surrounding residences, farmland, and wetlands, according to a recently released Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

PennDOT wants to know what you think of its winter work

Through May 7, people can grade PennDOT on their winter response in an online survey.

Congestion pricing floated as fix for Pa. transit funding crisis

The news that New York will become the first U.S. city to impose a fee on vehicles entering Manhattan has put congestion pricing at the center of a statewide conversation about how to fill Pennsylvania’s looming $450 million-a-year transit funding hole.

Fixing US bridges will take 80 years if current rate of progress continues: report

A new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association said it will take 80 years to fix structurally deficient bridges if repairs continue at their current pace.

Fees on Uber trips and hybrid vehicles: Where the state might look to pay for public transportation

Charging a dollar fee per trip to Uber users, hitting hybrid and electric car owners with a new annual fee, and raising the state’s 3.07 percent personal income tax to 3.17 percent are among the ideas that a group of southeastern Pennsylvania leaders have pulled together to address the state’s transportation funding crisis.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 14

April 2, 2019

How high will Pa. Turnpike fares go? (And other numbers you should know)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is increasingly becoming known for high fares and higher debt loads, thanks in no small part to policy decisions made more than a decade ago to ask the toll road to help pay for other transportation systems around the state.

Obstacles fail to derail construction of thruway

The Susquehanna Valley Thruway project has been re-estimated to cost $865 million, according to PennDOT officials, who also provided an update on the northern section construction to Sun-Gazette editorial staff.

Too much to ignore — British Airways takes a chance on a resurgent Pittsburgh

The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner set to launch the new service to London on Tuesday will find a Pittsburgh airport stripped of its hub, dependent largely on local traffic, and one that accommodates about half as many travelers as two decades ago. So what brought British Airways back? Pittsburgh itself.

State awards $55 million in transportation funds to 106 projects

In all, $54.7 million, which is approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, will go toward 106 new infrastructure projects in 40 counties.

Geotechnical engineers at Philadelphia convention check out Hyperloop passenger pods

The chairman of a Hyperloop company already developing transportation projects overseas was the keynote speaker at a conference of geotechnical engineers at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

DCNR looks to expand River Walk

Looking for state funding, local county and organizational leaders met with a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources official at Susquehanna State Park, Tuesday, to hear how new legislation could benefit the Susquehanna River Walk Extension project.

PennDOT to increase speed limit on I-99 in Centre County

PennDOT plans to increase the speed limit from 55 to 65 miles per hour between the Gray’s Woods exit at mile marker 68 to the end of the expressway at mile marker 84 in Bellefonte, near the Interstate 80 interchange.

Co-sponsor expects slow going for scooter bill in Pennsylvania House

The scooters don’t move too fast and apparently, neither will the bill that would OK their use.

These are the most dangerous states for pedestrians

As much as you might take a deep breath crossing Broad Street in Philly or Grant Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a pedestrian paradise compared to the Sun Belt.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 13

March 25, 2019

Funding questions raise worry at Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority

The region’s public busing service faces an uncertain funding future from the state and federal governments as three sources of money are at risk.

Commercial travel bans: “trucking community very frustrated”

Travel bans mean a loss for drivers and for trucking companies working on small profit margins. Time-sensitive deliveries like milk and oil are put on hold, and sometimes those drivers are forced to secondary roadways.

PennDOT announces 2019 construction plan for District 11

PennDOT has released its 2019 construction plan for District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties. Crews will work on approximately 129 projects costing an estimated $310 million. Seventy-four of them will be new, while the remainder will be projects carried over from 2018.

Harrisburg seeks to shrink PennDOT’s massive 12-lane proposal for I-83

Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced Wednesday during a news conference for the city’s Vision Zero action plan that city officials planned to hire an engineering firm to analyze PennDOT’s data and come up with possible alternative designs.

Pa. faces transportation headaches and the cures are likely to cost us more

The four chairs of the House and Senate transportation committees gathered with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania for a news conference on Wednesday to issue a call for action to address the intertwined problems confronting the state’s transportation network.

Key Pennsylvania lawmaker optimistic about turnpike lawsuit

Suburban Republican Tim Hennessy, chairman of the state House Transportation Committee, says there have been discussions about what might happen if the Commonwealth loses, but declines to discuss them publicly.

What happened to those feasibility studies for additional passenger rail in Pennsylvania?

A study on adding more service from Pittsburgh to Altoona is allegedly in process, but that extra service’s potential future funding is currently in dire straits. And another study looking at adding service from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg appears to have been shelved entirely.

PhilaPort announces addition to leadership team

PhilaPort announced that Colette Pete, Esquire, has agreed to join PhilaPort as its chief counsel effective March 18th.