Featured, News, PHIA Programs & Awards

2021 Road and Bridge Safety Award Program Open for PA’s Counties

July 27, 2021

Each year the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) team with various state organizations to recognize the best road safety or bridge improvement projects undertaken across the state.  For the 38th straight year, the program is now open for Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  Eligible projects are those in which most or all of the safety improvements were completed in 2020 or 2021.  The competition recognizes not only major, high-cost projects, but any improvements that have increased public safety.

Go here for complete information including the entry brochure. The deadline is October 1, 2021.

 

Featured

Transportation advocates turn attention toward Washington

July 8, 2021

Two weeks ago, we expressed optimism that the then soon-to-be-enacted PA budget would include a boost in transportation funding. We’re pleased to report that the General Assembly and governor saw fit to add $279 million to PennDOT’s construction program this fiscal year, enough to keep hundreds of highway builders working and continue much-needed bridge and road improvements. The added revenue comes from American Rescue Act funds.

As we put the budget behind us and state lawmakers recess until late September, our attention turns toward activities in Washington, where the bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act awaits Senate approval after advancing from a unanimous Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Our ever-vigilant Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition distributed this draft letter to Coalition members asking them to consider contacting Senators Casey and Toomey to push for Senate leaders to schedule floor time for the bill this month. Doing so would signal support for the measure, which would increase federal highway investment by 34 percent.

As those who follow transportation funding know, the previous funding mechanism expired in 2020, but the renewal process stalled and the funding program was extended for just a year. A longer-term funding mechanism would provide the certainty that the industry requires to function efficiently.

We hope to be able to report good news in the coming weeks.

 

Featured, News

Highway builders await budget approval with optimism

June 25, 2021

It appears that the 2021-22 Pennsylvania state budget could be wrapped up by the end of this week. The construction industry is hopeful that its advocacy efforts will pay off with additional funding for PennDOT’s capital projects, which could support several thousand family-sustaining jobs for this construction season.

The advocacy efforts generated hundreds of emails and phone calls to legislators and Governor Wolf. The contacts were made to demonstrate widespread support for addressing PennDOT’s short-term funding needs, nudging the capital project expenditures back closer to where they have been in recent years. They had been proposed to dip to levels not seen since 2008.

The advocacy efforts also included news media outreach through TV, radio and print media outlets. APC’s Bob Latham was at the center of those efforts. To hear Bob’s 4½-minute interview on ABC27’s “This Week in Pennsylvania,” follow this link.

We’ll be back with an update once the budget is approved.

 

Featured

Congressman Lamb offers federal take on transportation issues

May 28, 2021

This week, the popular Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Speaker Series welcomed U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-17) to share his perspective on various transportation issues – primarily on funding.

Lamb, one of several PA members of Congress on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, explained the genesis of a bill he is sponsoring that would send federal money directly to state departments of transportation to keep projects going that have been stalled by falling gas-tax revenue. Pennsylvania would receive $720 million.

Other points he made include:

  • The consensus for a Vehicle Miles Traveled fee to replace consumption taxes on liquid fuels seems to be growing, but it will still be a few years away and will probably require pilot projects to work out methods for tracking miles and collecting revenue.
  • “Infrastructure” – as defined by the Problem-Solvers Caucus (of which he is a member) – consists of traditional components such as bridges, highways and water systems, along with the electrical grid and high-speed internet.
  • Paying for infrastructure will probably consist of multiple measures, such as increasing the corporate tax rate, improving tax enforcement and giving the IRS additional resources.

Asked what could be done to help move infrastructure initiatives forward, he suggested that members of the construction industry contact their congressional representatives and urge support for infrastructure improvements.

“It’s time to go big on this thing,” he said.

To view his 30-minute discussion on transportation issues, follow this link.

 

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Biden plan would address transportation needs

April 9, 2021

President Biden’s recent appearance in Pittsburgh, in which he unveiled what he called the American Jobs Plan, has drawn considerable discussion across the nation. While some aspects of it have drawn criticism, many people have embraced the transportation infrastructure portions.

While details have yet to be determined, the general concepts seem sound. They include:

  • Modernizing 20,000 miles of highways, roads and streets.
  • Fixing the 10 most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction.
  • Repairing the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, providing critical linkages to communities.
  • Replacing thousands of buses and rail cars, repairing hundreds of stations, renewing airports and expanding public transportation and rail into new communities.

“Nobody expects that the president’s plan will turn out to be exactly as he proposed it, but the transportation portions of it would create tens of thousands of jobs and address the critical needs to restore the infrastructure,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “We’ll see if Congress and the president can finally come to a consensus on transportation funding.”