PA revenue package approved, but questions remain

October 26, 2017

Nearly four months beyond the beginning of the fiscal year, the General Assembly has approved revenue bills that – at least in theory – will balance the budget of nearly $32 billion that was approved earlier this year.

Assuming Governor Wolf approves the measures, the revenue will result from a significant expansion of gambling – casino-style gambling in truck stops, airports, online, and 10 new casino locations around the state, each with hundreds of slot machines and possibly table games – projected to raise $200 million per year.

Another $1.5 billion will be borrowed and repaid over 20 years, and $500 million is to come from “off-budget” funds at the governor’s discretion. Previously, House Republicans proposed siphoning $50 million each from multimodal transportation and public transportation funds, but the specific sources were stripped from the final version.

It is not clear what the governor will do or when he will act. Earlier measures are diverting almost $740 million from the Motor License Fund this fiscal year. PHIA will provide updates as decisions are made.



PennDOT lets $101 Million in September

October 2, 2017

PennDOT let just over $101.7 million projects during the month of September according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  With this letting, PennDOT has let just over $1.74 billion in project lettings to date.  At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $1.89 billion in projects.  The official 2016 year-end total was $2.594 billion just shy of PennDOT’s $2.6 billion forecast. PennDOT anticipates a $2.4 billion letting program by year’s end.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full September letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

September Letting Report* (PDF)


*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.



Senate to consider House-passed plan to divert another $100 million from transportation

September 19, 2017

House Republicans, trying to avoid increasing taxes and having already approved a spending measure, have sent to the Senate a proposed revenue plan that would peel another $100 million away from transportation in Pennsylvania.

Although it’s not as much as the nearly half-billion dollars proposed to be diverted initially, it would represent yet another leak in the increased revenue stream created by Act 89 of 2013.

You may recall that the budget for this fiscal year, passed during the summer, included a diversion of $778 million from the Motor License Fund to support State Police operations. The General Assembly had rolled back the amount diverted last year by about $24 million, but instead of decreasing the diverted amount this year, the House plan would actually increase it by a $76 million. Read more


Work zone crashes increase in PA

August 23, 2017

Act 89 has boosted transportation spending in Pennsylvania. With that comes an increase in work zones, and with that comes an increase in work zone accidents. reported this week that 2,076 work zone crashes occurred in Pennsylvania last year, an increase of about 7 percent since 2015, according to PennDOT. More than 900 people were injured in those crashes, and 15 people were killed.

According to PennDOT, 644 of the crashes involved speeding, 275 were because of distracted driving and 13 were caused by people on cellphones.

This fall, Pennsylvania House members will consider an automated speed enforcement bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate. Owners of vehicles that drive at excessive speeds through work zones would receive a speeding ticket through the mail.

“The Maryland experience shows that automated speed enforcement works,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Once motorists become accustomed to the speed cameras, excessive speeding in work zones drops significantly, making work zones safer for motorists, passengers and highway workers.”

The entire article can be found here.



Recalibrating the notion of ‘easy’ P-3 solutions

August 4, 2017

A Governing Magazine columnist has some interesting thoughts this month on lessons we can learn from one of the nation’s very first public-private partnerships. The P-3 to which he refers? Our very own Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Columnist Donald F. Kettl, former dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, concludes that there are no easy solutions. His column can be found here.