News

Roundabouts again shown to improve safety

September 3, 2020

PennDOT released a report this week that once again verifies that roundabouts are considerably safer than the intersections they replace.

PennDOT examined data gathered at 22 roundabouts on state routes at intersections that previously had been controlled with traffic signals or stop signs. All 22 had at least three years of crash data available before and after the roundabout was built.

The data showed that suspected serious injuries were reduced by 78 percent, suspected minor injuries were reduced by 62 percent, possible/unknown severity injuries were reduced by 82 percent, and property damage-only crashes increased by 20 percent.

Most impressive is that the study showed that, through 2019, fatalities were reduced to zero, and crashes overall were reduced by 24 percent.

“Pennsylvania didn’t have many roundabouts until recent years, and many people were concerned that they would actually cause more accidents,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “But the data prove that the opposite is true. And not only are they safer, they usually improve traffic flow as well.”

PennDOT notes that 34 other roundabouts have been built on state routes, with another 40 in design.

To learn more about roundabouts, visit PennDOT’s roundabout page at this link.

 

News

APC, Keystone Coalition testify in House committee hearings

August 20, 2020

This week, representatives of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition testified before the House Transportation Committee to weigh in on a package of bills developed by a House task force that was formed last year to investigate how to better fund transportation infrastructure.

The hearings were originally scheduled for April, but were postponed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic significantly worsened the Commonwealth’s infrastructure funding capabilities, and most of the witnesses who were lined up in April had to retool their testimony.

APC’s Bob Latham recounted the events that have occurred since the passage of Act 89 of 2013. In addition to not fully addressing the funding gap, the diversions from the Motor License Fund to support General Fund functions increased.

The pandemic caused a major drop in fuel tax revenue, which PennDOT estimates will cause a shortfall in expected revenue totaling $800 million through next year. Read more

News

Remembering Nick Micozzie

July 30, 2020

This week, we note with sadness the passing of former state Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, 89, after suffering a fall the previous week.

Nick, of Delaware County, served in the House from 1979 until his retirement in 2014. He will be remembered mostly as the longtime Republican chair of the House Insurance Committee, but he played a major role in advancing the legislation that became Act 89 of 2013, the transportation funding measure.

Nick took on the chairmanship of the Transportation Committee following the death of Dick Hess in September, 2013. Many wondered why he would leave the relatively comfortable job as Insurance chair and take on the difficult and controversial challenge of transportation funding.

In keeping with his longtime public policy philosophy, he explained that he believed it was “the right thing to do.” He shepherded the measure through the House, and two months later, Act 89 became law.

We at PHIA and throughout Pennsylvania transportation circles send our deep condolences to Nick’s family and friends. To read more about his professional and personal life, follow this link to the DelCo Times.

 

Featured

House passes legislation to honor Rick Geist

July 17, 2020

The Pennsylvania House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would honor a longtime House Transportation Committee chair, the late Rick Geist.

Sponsored by Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Blair), the bill would dedicate the 17th Street bridge over Interstate 99 in Logan Township as the Honorable Richard A. Geist Memorial Bridge. Representative Schmitt occupies the 79th District seat formerly held by Chairman Geist.

First elected in 1978, Rick served 17 terms in the House and was Transportation chair for nearly two decades. He was the longest-serving majority chair of that committee in House history. In 2011, he was named PHIA Advocate of the year. In August 2019, he died from a heart attack at age 74 while on vacation in Russia.

“Rick Geist was a tireless advocate for transportation,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “He was very well regarded among those in the construction industry, dozens of whom considered him not just an industry supporter, but a friend. He would appreciate being honored in this way.”

 

Featured, News

New tool provides highway investment info

June 26, 2020

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association launched a tool this week that highlights the benefits of highway investment across the country.

It shows that Pennsylvania leveraged nearly $1.2 billion in federal funds to spur more than $2.2 billion in highway improvements in the 2018 fiscal year.

Called the ARTBA Highway Dashboard, the tool is designed to provide elected officials and the public with information about how and where states invest their transportation tax dollars. The tool comes as we approach the expiration of the federal FAST Act surface transportation law on Sept. 30.

In Pennsylvania, two-thirds of the cost of projects was for reconstruction or repair work on existing roads. Planning, design and engineering accounted for 13%, added capacity 12% and new construction 1%.

“This tool provides useful information for the public and policymakers as we get closer to the time that decisions on funding will need to be made,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Sound decisions start with sound data, so we’re pleased to have it available.”

To view the ARTBA Highway Dashboard, click here.

ARTBA is a national trade association for the highway industry, with more than 8,000 public and private-sector members.