News

PennDOT official provides view of the future with autonomous vehicles

May 24, 2017

Autonomous self-driving driverless vehicle with radar on the roadMany of us who have watched the development of autonomous vehicles see a variety of ways in which they will transform society. One of the most significant transformations will occur in the auto industry itself.

PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers presented a glimpse into the future at PHIA’s latest policy breakfast this week. Myers projects that autonomous vehicles will change the way we utilize vehicles, from trucks to buses, as well as our own personal vehicles.

Once the technology spreads, cars will be seen less as status symbols, and more as commodities. Families are likely to own fewer vehicles as consumers will be able to arrange for their transportation needs on demand. In fact, Myers expects that autonomous vehicles will have multiple owners as ride-sharing becomes more of the norm.

He said the auto industry will be challenged to keep up with the new technology. Tech firms tend to produce products and services as rapidly as they are demanded. The auto industry will need to match that pace if it is to survive this tech revolution.

Myers assured the audience that autonomous vehicles will create business opportunities across the Commonwealth. Still, it may take at least a decade for the autonomous vehicle infrastructure to be fully in place.

 

News

PennDOT Lets $172 Million in April

May 4, 2017

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT let just over $172.6 million projects during the month of April according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  With this letting, PennDOT has let just over $862 million in project lettings to date.  At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $833 million 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 April letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

April 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.

 

News

Thruway project moving toward new milestone

May 2, 2017

Of all the transportation improvements planned or already underway since the passage of Act 89 of 2013, few fall into the category of “marquee projects.” One that does is the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project, a new, four-lane, 13-mile limited access highway in Monroe Township and Shamokin Dam Borough, Snyder County.

Looking southwest from Ridge Road across PA 147, river, and US 15The project will connect Routes 11/15 north of Selinsgrove to U.S. 15 south of Winfield and include a connector from the new highway to the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Route 61. Projected for completion in 2024, it will separate trucks and through traffic from local traffic, reducing congestion, improving safety and spurring economic growth.

Work on the northern section has commenced. The project will reach another milestone May 25 when PennDOT unveils a first draft of the southern section during a public meeting at Selinsgrove Middle School. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m.

In February, PennDOT announced that several environmental and engineering challenges had surfaced, requiring some route modifications. The proposed alternatives will be unveiled at the meeting, and PennDOT hopes to identify the preferred alternative later this year.

“Nearly every project funded by Act 89 will improve safety, reduce congestion and accommodate economic growth in some manner, but the thruway project is really a shining example,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “We hope to have more of these kinds of projects that will add capacity once we bring the existing highway infrastructure up to a better state of repair in the years ahead.”

 

News

Saylor speaks at PHIA breakfast event

April 20, 2017

SaylorPORT_250Republican House Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor spoke this week at a PHIA Policy Breakfast, briefing attendees on state budget deliberations and weighing in on the State Police funding issue.

Saylor’s mantra has been about the need to reshape state government, which he said would be a four or five-year process to realign programs and services and phase out activities that prevent the Commonwealth from living within its means.

On the State Police funding issue, he said his preference would be to require municipalities with a population of at least 10,000 to pay the full cost of state police protection if they have no local police protection. That cost has been estimated at around $230 per resident per year.

The event had been rescheduled because of the March snowstorm. The organization hopes to schedule two additional breakfast briefings before the end of June.

 

News

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 15

April 10, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Pa. troopers cracking down on speeding in work zones

Pennsylvania State troopers have a message for drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike — Slow down, pay attention or you will pay.

The speeding sting stems from a tragic loss. Nearly three years ago, a Pennsylvania Turnpike worker was killed near the Downingtown Exit because someone was speeding. Since then, State Police have been conducting speeding stings to prevent workers from being injured or killed.

Trump building plan: how one public-private deal hit a bumpy road

Texas had high hopes for the southern segments of SH 130, a 41-mile stretch of the high-speed toll road east of San Antonio. A pair of investors stepped forward and offered what sounded like a great deal: Texas would get a big check for turning the rights to build and operate the toll road over to a private entity, a move that would give the state a new highway and a share of the tolls.

But a decade after Texas and its partners first shook hands, the corporation running the road is in bankruptcy — with more than $430 million still owed to U.S. taxpayers — and more than a billion owed to other investors, too.

Governor, PennDOT announce 2017 infrastructure investments in NEPA

Governor Tom Wolf joined representatives from PennDOT to launch the 2017 construction season and announce major investments in road improvements throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Due to Act 89, the state’s transportation plan, northeastern Pennsylvania will see a significant increase in the amount of work taking place this year to improve the transportation network for the region.

Today’s Editorial: Find balance between roads and police

It’s difficult to argue the Pennsylvania State Police is not worth the money state taxpayers spend for the wide-reaching protection.

With reduced numbers and a wide coverage area, the State Police faces increasing challenges of covering areas that do not feature local law enforcement agencies as more municipalities fall under its umbrella.

However, as the state’s infrastructure — from roads to bridges to ports — continues to crumble, the practice of siphoning money out of the Motor License Fund is a matter of concern.

Paying for police: Rep. Sturla hopes his equity plan benefits from governor’s push

Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, has been calling for a state charge to municipalities without local police forces for Pennsylvania State Police coverage for nearly 15 years, to no avail. What’s different this time? He has a powerful ally.

Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed implementing a $25-per-person fee for state police coverage in un-policed townships and boroughs in his $32.3 billion 2017-18 budget.