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.

 

News

So far, so good on restoring diverted highway money

April 6, 2017

houseLargePA House Republicans this week introduced a proposed state budget that counters the proposal put forth several weeks ago by Governor Wolf.

The good news is that the administration and lawmakers are closer from the outset than they have been in the past. Additional good news is that both versions call for reducing the amount of revenue that has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support State Police operations.

The governor proposed a $63 million cut in money diverted from the Motor License Fund, which is the constitutionally created source for most of PennDOT’s operations and highway construction and maintenance. The governor proposed to offset the reduction to State Police by imposing a $25 per capita fee on municipalities that rely solely on the State Police for community policing. Read more

News

Committee concludes PA should restore more than $220 million for highway work

March 24, 2017

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee has released the long-awaited report determining the appropriate and justifiable amount of Motor License Fund revenue that can be used to fund State Police operations.

PAWIREFRAMEPOLICEUsing the 2015-16 fiscal year as a benchmark, the report said the appropriate amount that year would have been $532.8 million, not the $755 million that was actually diverted. In the current fiscal year, $802 million was diverted, but Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for next year would reduce that amount by $63 million.

Legislation passed last year mandates that the diverted amount be reduced in each of the next 10 years until it reaches the appropriate level. It is important to note that the Commonwealth has the ability to revise that mandate by enacting new legislation. Read more

News

Cost for full-time State Police coverage tabbed at $600 million annually

March 16, 2017

STATEPOLICE (002)As the Wolf administration and lawmakers grapple with the State Police funding issue, data are beginning to illuminate the discussion.

First, we know that about half of Pennsylvania’s 2,562 municipalities do not have local or regional police coverage, relying instead on the State Police. Another 400-plus municipalities have part-time local police coverage and rely on State Police the rest of the time.

Last week, State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker told a Senate budget panel that it costs $600 million per year for his agency to provide full-time coverage to the nearly 1,300 municipalities that need it. Those municipalities are home to about 2.5 million Pennsylvanians.

Governor Wolf has proposed charging a $25 per resident fee in municipalities that rely strictly on the State Police. That approach would raise $63 million per year, to be restored to the Motor License Fund and used for highway projects instead of State Police operations, reducing the Motor License Fund’s support to $739 million. Read more

News

PennDOT lets $294 million in February

March 7, 2017

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT let just over $294 million projects during the month of February according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  With this letting, PennDOT has begun the new year (2017) with just over $376 in project lettings.  At this same point last year, PennDOT bid a total of $467.3 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 February letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

 

*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.

 

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