PHIA helps to shine spotlight on Act 89 benefits

June 30, 2016

ACT89ABSTRACTAmong our goals for PHIA this year is to raise the organization’s profile and strengthen its reputation as “the go-to source” for information about transportation issues.

We were pleased this week to coordinate and participate in a Harrisburg news conference featuring PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. The news conference was held to provide an update of where things stand with Act 89 in advance of a series of regional events we’re sponsoring to promote the benefits of the transportation funding measure enacted in 2013.

Secretary Richards began by recapping the progress that has been made because of Act 89. The measure enabled PennDOT to award $2.5 billion in construction projects last year, and an estimated $2.4 billion this year. Without Act 89, the awards would have totaled only about $1.5 billion per year. Read more


Automated Work Zone Enforcement Advances in the Senate

June 23, 2016

600600p472EDNmain1155Senate 4Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senator David Argall (R-Berks), which creates a pilot program for automated camera enforcement in work zones, passed unanimously out of Senate Appropriations Committee last night.

Before passage, the committee adopted two amendments to SB 840: first, Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) introduced an amendment to direct the revenue from tickets to the Motor License Fund; second, Senator Argall made some technical changes to the language. Both amendments were adopted unanimously.

The bill would create a five year, sun-setting pilot program for automated enforcement systems on interstate highways during active work times. The highways must be under the jurisdiction of PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission, and enforcement zones will be noted at least twice before a driver enters the work zone. The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of the Turnpike Commission post a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin before a new speed enforcement system is operational. Read more


P3 Board approves Turnpike fiber optic cable project

June 17, 2016

P3altLate last week, the state Public-Private Partnership Board approved the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s proposal to seek a firm to install fiber optic cable along the Turnpike and its extensions.

The cable will span more than 550 miles and significantly improve the communication capacity for the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT. The proposal invites a private partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the cable network and lease the remaining capacity of the network to other users.

Utilizing the Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Act of 2012 will enable the Turnpike Commission to reserve its capital for rebuilding the toll road. The Commission expects bids from large firms located in metropolitan regions of the country.

Industry input will be sought by October of this year, and the Commission plans to have a preferred firm selected by June of 2017, with construction to be completed in 2018.

“The aging system is nearing its capacity, and maintenance costs are increasing,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “An economically efficient P3 project is a great way to improve wireless infrastructure and capacity to meet the Turnpike’s needs into the future.”



PennDOT lets over $218 million on projects during May

June 2, 2016

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT let over $218 million projects during the month of May. With this letting, PennDOT has bid a total of $1 billion in 2016 to date. At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $1.196 billion. The official 2015 year-end total was $2.594 billion just shy of PennDOT’s $2.6 billion forecast. PennDOT reported at the annual meeting of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) that 2016 lettings are expected to be $2.4 billion.

With the 2013 enactment of the transportation funding bill (Act 89) there is reason to see increased lettings. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come.

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

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

May 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.


PA Turnpike COO speaks at PHIA Policy Breakfast

May 18, 2016

IMG_0283Pennsylvania Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey joined policy leaders at the PHIA Policy Breakfast series this week to discuss recent events and the future of the PA Turnpike.

Shuey reviewed recent Turnpike events, including the move to a 70-mile-per-hour speed limit, and the challenges of the January snow storm. He was very positive about the increase in the speed limit, explaining that consistent speeds across the entire turnpike increase safety as drivers know what to expect.

“All we are about [the Pennsylvania Turnpike] is moving people safely,” Shuey said. The concern about the safety of motorists and construction workers alike has prompted the Turnpike Commission to support a proposed automated speed limit  enforcement in work zones.

Nearly 300 miles of the Turnpike have been improved, are in the process of improvements, or are slated for improvement projects. The Turnpike’s $450 million annual contribution to public transportation funding has pushed its debt toward $10 billion, but Act 89 provides for that payment to end in 2022.

“It was very valuable for our guests to hear of the projects on the Turnpike,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We will need as many allies as possible to protect transportation dollars for transportation projects.”