Gas prices edging up, but are expected to remain lower than last year

February 25, 2014


Gasoline price watchers are expecting prices to rise in coming weeks, as they usually do in the spring, but not to the extent that they have in the past.

The Kiplinger Letter predicts that the national average price for unleaded regular, at $3.39 per gallon about a dime higher than a week ago, will peak at about $3.60 before leveling off by late spring.

The cause for spring price spikes is maintenance-related refinery closures and the switch to summer gasoline blends. Kiplinger projects that the prices will remain lower this year compared with last.

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Washington infrastructure event provides many questions, few answers

February 6, 2014

ShusterPortraitFinancial software, data and media company Bloomberg hosted an infrastructure event in Washington this week, and while the event provided a forum to frame the issue from multiple perspectives, it remains clear that Congress is far from a consensus on many aspects of a funding plan.

Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, said he favors moving toward a vehicle miles-traveled (VMT) tax to fund a highway program. He is not in favor of raising the 18.4-cent federal gasoline tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1993.

Although a VMT approach would more accurately assess the costs for using transportation assets, others balk at the idea of tracking the number of miles that people travel in order to assess the levy.

Still others, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former PA Gov. Ed Rendell, believe the gas tax should be raised immediately. Rendell called for raising it by 10 cents and indexing it to inflation. Read more


PennDOT Starts Off 2014 with $222 in Lettings

February 4, 2014

NEW_PENNDOTThe Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) bid $222.7 million in projects in January starting the new year off on a high note. During January of 2013, PennDOT only put out $62 million in contract 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


PennDOT’s Year End Letting Total: $1.6 Billion

January 2, 2014

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) bid $66.5 million in projects in December bring the year-end total to $1.638 billion.   PennDOT originally forecasted to hit $1.7 billion in 2013.  PennDOT’s 2012 lettings were $1.9 billion.  Click HERE to view a chart of the PennDOT letting history (updated) since 1994.

There is, however, reason for optimism since the enactment of Act 89 of 2013, which will implements a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years.  At the recent APC/PennDOT Fall Seminar, Deputy Secretary Scott Christie announced that the 2014 letting forecast is a minimum of $1.5 billion without the passage of the new funding bill.  It is expected that PennDOT will now let approximately $2 billion in projects in 2014.

To view the full December 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.




2014 Road & Bridge Safety Award Program Opens

December 11, 2013

PHIA has launched its annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award program for 2014.  The annual contest is now taking applications by members of the PA State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS).

Each year the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) team with various state organizations to recognize the best road safety or bridge improvement projects undertaken across the state.   Eligible projects are those in which most or all of the safety improvements were completed in 2013.  The competition recognizes not only major, high-cost projects, but any improvements that have increased public safety.

The PSATS program will recognize townships’ use of highway user fees for needed community safety improvements, culminating in a presentation to the winners at PSATS’ annual conference at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on April 13-16, 2014.  Click HERE to download a copy of the entry brochure.  The entry deadline is March 7, 2014.

Additional programs for the PA State Association of Boroughs, County Commissions Association of Pennsylvania, the PA State Association of Township Commissioners, and Pennsylvania Municipal League will be announced throughout 2014.

For more information on other municipal organization’s Road and Bridge Safety Award programs, click here.