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Saylor speaks at PHIA breakfast event

April 20, 2017 by · Comments Off on Saylor speaks at PHIA breakfast event
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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

Automated speed enforcement bill advances again in Senate

February 1, 2017 by · Comments Off on Automated speed enforcement bill advances again in Senate
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safezone_signBecause of PHIA’s focus on highway safety, it probably comes as no surprise that the organization supports automated speed enforcement in work zones using cameras. The Senate Transportation Committee considered such a measure last year but was not able to advance it to a floor vote in the waning days of the legislative session.

The committee once again advanced a very similar measure in its first week of the new session, and it is positioned again to move toward a vote of the full Senate and advance to the House.

The experience that Maryland has had after enacting a similar measure makes it very clear that automated enforcement works. Once Maryland drivers became aware that exceeding the work zone speed limit by at least 11 miles per hour could result in a ticket for the vehicle owner, violations dropped from seven cars per 100 to fewer than one per 100.

“There’s some disagreement among lawmakers as to whether the revenue from automated speeding fines should go toward highway use or be used to support the State Police,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Neither PHIA nor the construction industry has a position on where the money should go. For us, the safety of people in work zones is the most important consideration.”

An article about the Senate bill can be found at this link. E-motion will provide updates on this measure as it advances.

 

News

A lasting legacy…The Honorable J. Barry Stout

October 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on A lasting legacy…The Honorable J. Barry Stout
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stoutIn Memorium…The Honorable J. Barry Stout

State Sen. J. Barry Stout, longtime legislator, family man and one of the best friends the transportation industry ever had, died Saturday at the age of 79 at his home in Bentleyville.

“His passing is a great loss to his constituents and to the Commonwealth as a whole,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “He had many, many noteworthy accomplishments, and his support for the transportation industry in his role as Democratic Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee was just stellar. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family.”

Stout received PHIA’s highest honor–The Transportation Advocate of the Year Award–in 1998.  Stout also was a honorary lifetime members of the organization and frequent participant in the association’s activities.

To read Senator Stout’s obituary, click here.

 

News

Automated Work Zone Enforcement Advances in the Senate

June 23, 2016 by · 2 Comments
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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

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‘Free’ police coverage has a high price tag

May 5, 2016 by · 1 Comment
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In the last few weeks, editorials and op-ed articles have appeared in newspapers around the state in reaction to the Associated Press story about “free” state police coverage.

pspThe AP noted that nearly half of Pennsylvania’s municipalities rely on the State Police for all of their police protection, and others for at least some coverage. Municipalities are able take advantage of this coverage at no additional cost.

This has increased the cost of operation for the State Police, without any additional revenue to pay for it. Residents of communities that have local police forces or participate in regional police coverage pay twice – for their local coverage, and for State Police coverage in municipalities that rely on State Police.

Gerald Cross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League Central Division, commented about this problem with an op-ed article published in several newspapers. You can read the entire article here.

“Mandating that all 2,561 municipalities have their own police departments is unrealistic. One alternative is to require payment for state police services,” Cross wrote. “A more comprehensive and long-term, albeit more complicated, option is to create a mechanism for local government tax-base sharing to deliver all types of critical services more effectively on a regional level. One thing is clear: A wide-ranging discussion of how local governments in Pennsylvania provide services is long overdue.”

The growing cost leads the General Assembly and administration to divert increasing resources from the Motor License Fund.  More than $800 million is proposed to be shifted from the Motor License Fund to pay for the State Police in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget. This means that fewer transportation improvement projects will be funded.

“The growing cost to the State Police for providing local police coverage should not come at the expense of transportation improvement projects,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Act 89 was a huge step forward in improving our roads and bridges, but it cannot work as well as it should if increasing transportation dollars continue to be used for ‘free’ State Police coverage.”

 

News

Nearly 200 highway users gather for PHIA’s annual meeting

October 8, 2015 by · Comments Off on Nearly 200 highway users gather for PHIA’s annual meeting
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Attendees were treated to seminars given by industry experts and transportation-focused elected officials including Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton, House Transportation Chairman Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), PennDOT P3 Director Michael Bonini, Senate Policy Chairman Senator David Argall, and many more.

Lou_Barletta,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress_(2)We got an update on the status of the Rapid Bridge Replacement Program that is currently underway to repair 558 structurally deficient bridges across the state, learned about legislation to improve work zone safety and hold reckless drivers accountable and Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) explained the debate going on in Washington, D.C. about transportation funding.  Barletta announced that he plans to introduce legislation in Washington modeling Pennsylvania’s Act 89 law in order to push Congress into adoptions of a comprehensive, long-term funding bill for the nation.

Secretary-Richards2PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards also joined us for lunch to address the need for consistent, reliable funding to maintain our roads and bridges. She says there have been talks about new sources of recurring revenue, but also emphasized the need to protect existing funding for highways – the Motor License Fund. Read more

News

Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill

September 29, 2015 by · Comments Off on Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill
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safezone_signThe Senate Transportation Committee unanimously advanced a bill that would allow automated enforcement of speed limits in Pennsylvania’s work zones. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senators David Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks), would establish a five-year pilot program to test the automated enforcement program in active work zones on Interstate highways managed by either PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission. The owners of cars photographed traveling at least 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limit would receive a $100 citation in the mail.  The bill also requires advanced warning signs to be placed in advance of camera usage to alert motorists that automated enforcement is in operation.

If the measure receives Senate approval, it will then be considered by the House before being sent to the governor for final approval.

 

News

Still no widespread speed increase for PA Turnpike, Interstates

July 28, 2015 by · Comments Off on Still no widespread speed increase for PA Turnpike, Interstates
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70-MPH-signLast year, Pennsylvania increased the speed limit to 70 mph on parts of the Turnpike and Interstates 80 and 380 as part of a pilot study, leading many to believe that widespread speed increases were imminent.

However, the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT say they are still studying the impact of the change. So far, they have no definitive conclusion as to whether the increased speed limit is safe or unsafe.PennDOT estimated that the average driver would save approximately 6 minutes per 97 miles on the Turnpike with the speed increase, 5.8 minutes per 88 miles on I-80, and 1.4 minutes per 21 miles on I-380.

Pennsylvania is the 38th state to start moving highway speed limits to 70 mph; West Virginia bumped up its limits back in 1997.

“Whether the maximum speed limit on Pennsylvania highways is 65 or 70 is less important to PHIA than the assurance that the speed is safe on these roads,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “While studies so far have been inconclusive, we believe that PennDOT’s decision will be based on the best and safest use of state highways.”

 

News

APC supports automated speed limit enforcement in work zones

July 14, 2015 by · Comments Off on APC supports automated speed limit enforcement in work zones
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safezone_signAPC’s Bob Latham was among numerous parties providing testimony before a joint House/Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday morning regarding a broad range of highway safety issues. Bob’s focus was on Senate Bill 840, a Sen. David Argall-sponsored measure that would authorize automated speed limit enforcement in work zones.

He cited the positive results of a similar program in Maryland in curtailing excessive speeding in work zones and said it would improve the level of safety for the traveling public, as well as construction workers. For a news release summarizing Bob’s testimony, click here.

 

 

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Senate committee approves increased penalties for work zone speed violations

June 30, 2015 by · Comments Off on Senate committee approves increased penalties for work zone speed violations
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Road constructionThe state Senate Transportation Committee has unanimously approved a measure to increase penalties for drivers who injure highway workers.

Sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver), the bill would impose fines upward of $1,000 for irresponsible driving in areas of road construction. These fines increase to $5,000 and a six-month suspension of the driver’s license if a highway worker or emergency responder is injured. Finally, if a highway worker is killed in the accident, drivers would pay a fine of up to $10,000 and lose their licenses for up to one year.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 workers are injured every year in highway and street-construction accidents. Read more

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