News

Missouri ballot defeat reinforces lessons learned in PA

August 7, 2014

MIZZOUNEWWe’re disappointed to see any transportation funding initiative go down to defeat, but reasons behind the 59-41 percent thrashing this week of a Missouri ballot initiative that would have raised the state sales tax by three-quarters of a cent stands in contrast to Pennsylvania’s successful effort with Act 89 last year.

The Missouri proposal would have raised $480 million annually for the state and $54 million annually for local governments for as long as 10 years. The measure guaranteed that the state gasoline tax would not increase during the time the sales tax boost was in effect.

Although drafted to assure that the revenue could not be diverted for non-transportation use, the measure drew heavy criticism for its failure to balance the cost burden proportionately among various highway users. In fact, the group perceived as having greatest responsibility for wear and tear on Missouri highways – out-of-state trucking companies – would have been let off the hook almost entirely as Missouri residents would have borne the burden. Read more

News

Congress extends federal highway program until May 2015

August 1, 2014

After much back and forth maneuvering between the U.S. Senate and House, Congress finally passed legislation stabilizing the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) until May 31, 2015.  The bill cleared the final stage in the U.S. Senate late last night by an 81 to 13 vote.  Both Pennsylvania Senators Casey and Toomey voted in favor of the final vote to extend the HTF.  The bill now heads to President Obama who indicated he would sign it into law. Read more

News

PennDOT’s lettings top the $1.7 billion mark

July 31, 2014

NEW_PENNDOTNow into the second half of 2014, Act 89 continues to push construction lettings to significantly higher levels compared to last year. PennDOT had another strong month in July with over $330 million in projects being put out on the street. This brings the year-to-date total to over $1.7 billion. At this same point in 2013, PennDOT only bid $936.6 million in lettings. At this pace, PennDOT would end 2014 with an estimated $2.2 billion in lettings.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding $2 billion in construction lettings in 2014. PennDOT finished 2013 with $1.6 billion in lettings.

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

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

July 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

U.S. House passes short-term funding bill

July 18, 2014

The U.S. House this week approved by a wide margin a short-term measure that would prop up the Federal Highway Trust Fund through next spring. That it was generally welcomed by the construction industry and transportation advocates speaks to the new level of expectation that the Congress has set for itself.

As reported in The Hill (click HERE to read), a widely-read inside-the-Beltway newspaper, “both chambers’ version of the transportation bill rely on so-called ‘pension smoothing’ — a proposal that budget experts across the ideological spectrum have dubbed a gimmick.”

Moreover, Congress has once again ignored the pleas of the business community, which is pushing for a long-term funding plan. The American Trucking Association and AAA have joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in this quest. Click HERE to read more. Read more

News

PennDOT lets over $1.4 billion in projects in first 6 months of 2014

June 30, 2014

NEW_PENNDOTAct 89 continues to push construction lettings to significantly higher levels thus far in 2014. PennDOT had another strong month in June with over $510 million in projects being put out on the street. This brings the year-to-date total to over $1.4 billion. At this same point in 2013, PennDOT only bid $724.4 million in lettings. At this pace, PennDOT would end 2014 with over $2 billion in lettings.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT coming close to $2 billion in construction lettings in 2014. PennDOT finished 2013 with $1.6 billion in lettings. Read more