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
Filed under: News 

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


General Assembly nears introduction of work zone safety legislation

June 2, 2015 by · Comments Off on General Assembly nears introduction of work zone safety legislation
Filed under: News 

Orange construction lightThis week, the General Assembly is set to introduce legislation aimed at improving driver and worker safety in construction zones.

The bill would authorize automated speed enforcement in work zones on limited access state highways. Cameras would photograph license plates of vehicles that significantly exceed speed limits, and the vehicle owner would receive a violation notice. Areas of automated enforcement would be clearly marked.

In work zones, space restrictions make it difficult for police officers to monitor and enforce excessive speeding. In the last five years, there have been 10,586 crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, costing 128 lives. In 2013 alone, there were 1,800 crashes and 16 deaths.

Maryland’s automated enforcement program has proven to be successful. In its first two-and-a-half years, that state saw a reduction from about 7 percent to about 1 percent of drivers significantly exceeding the speed limit in work zones.

“While the industry certainly is concerned with worker safety, this initiative would have much a much broader positive effect,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “According to the Federal Highway Administration, 85 percent of the victims of work zone fatalities are drivers or passengers, not highway workers.”



Corman pitches pension reform at PHIA breakfast

May 7, 2015 by · Comments Off on Corman pitches pension reform at PHIA breakfast
Filed under: News 

IMG_1995The additional resources needed to support Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget will not be forthcoming without first addressing the state’s pension issue, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) told several dozen attendees at a breakfast hosted by the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association.

Corman, a longtime supporter of ample transportation funding, lauded the safety improvements to highways made possible by the passage of Act 89 in 2013. His constituents and all Pennsylvanians will see the benefits as the funding increases move ahead.

But he emphasized that neither the highway industry nor any other group receiving resources from the state can escape the impact of the increased pension obligation. Pensions are one of the largest cost-drivers of the entire state budget, and the pension system must be modernized to shift the risk away from taxpayers and to free up resources for other programs and services.

Corman informed the group that his caucus is working on a solution that could bring savings to the state by enrolling new state hires in a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit plan. Continuing to devote increasing resources to the pension deficit without reform is unacceptable, he said.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed will be the next breakfast series guest on June 17. The series is sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies, Burns Engineering and PennStress.



PHIA Co-Hosts Chairmen’s Breakfast

March 4, 2015 by · Comments Off on PHIA Co-Hosts Chairmen’s Breakfast
Filed under: News 

019Partnering with ACEC/PA, PHIA this week hosted a breakfast with the chairmen of both the House and Senate Transportation committees.

Senators John Rafferty and John Wozniak returned to their posts on the Senate side. The House appointed new chairs this session with Representatives John Taylor and Bill Keller. While new to the chairmanships, Taylor and Keller are not strangers to transportation issues, and both supported Act 89.

The breakfast began with introductions from each of the chairmen, where they lauded the successes of Act 89 in their respective districts, and across the state. They expressed their commitment to protecting highway funds in the face of a tight budget year.

The House chairmen also expressed great interest in further development at the port of Philadelphia (both hail from Philadelphia County). They015 pointed to the competition in port use from Delaware’s recent development and want to be active in working with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority to create jobs at the port.

It was a packed first event in the series, and we hope to see you at the next, which is scheduled for May 6.



Act 89 continues to drive PA forward

September 3, 2014 by · Comments Off on Act 89 continues to drive PA forward
Filed under: Video 

PHIA provides a video update on the benefits of Act 89 and how it’s moving Pennsylvania forward.




Act 89 vote shows little or no impact on legislative campaigns

August 4, 2014 by · Comments Off on Act 89 vote shows little or no impact on legislative campaigns
Filed under: Video 

Although the General Election still awaits, there is no sign that enactment of a transportation funding measure last year is having an impact on this year’s legislative campaign. PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner provides an update.






Funding act supporters win re-nomination

May 29, 2014 by · Comments Off on Funding act supporters win re-nomination
Filed under: News 

Transportation funding advocates are fond of noting that following the gas-tax increase of 1997, no incumbent who supported the increase lost his or her seat because of it.

This year – at least through the primary – the same holds true. Many incumbents who had previously supported Act 89, including Reps. Mark Keller, Stan Saylor, Mauree Gingrich, Patty Kim, Karen Boback, Margo Davidson and Seth Grove, won their party’s nomination fairly handily.

Rep. Ryan Aument, who also supported the funding act, was nominated for a vacant Senate seat. Kristen Phillips-Hill, running for a vacant House seat, defeated a tea party candidate to win the nomination.

Of the handful of incumbents who lost their bids for re-nomination and who supported Act 89, their vote clearly was not the main reason. Some are facing criminal charges, and one was thrown into a district with a fellow incumbent following legislative redistricting. Read more


2014 Transportation Conference a Success

May 8, 2014 by · Comments Off on 2014 Transportation Conference a Success
Filed under: News 

PHIA members know that we don’t hand out our Advocate of the Year awards to just anyone. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to skip the award some years.

Tom CorbettThis year, however, we honored not one, but two transportation advocates, and it won’t surprise anyone to learn that they are Gov. Tom Corbett and PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch. Both were instrumental in the passage of Act 89, Pennsylvania’s first-ever comprehensive, multimodal transportation funding measure. It wouldn’t have happened without them.

In fact, there was no shortage of kudos at this year’s Transportation Conference and Annual Meeting, held Wednesday at the Harrisburg Hilton. While the governor and Secretary Schoch – Barry was serving as PHIA president when he was nominated as secretary – deservedly took PHIA’s top honors, the organization bestowed special recognition on Sens. John Rafferty and John Wozniak, majority and minority chairs, respectively, of the Senate Transportation Committee; Reps. Nick Micozzie and Michael McGeehan, majority and minority chairs, respectively, of the House Transportation Committee; Sen. Jake Corman, who introduced the initial transportation funding legislation; House Speaker Sam Smith, who shepherded the final bill through the House; and the late Dick Hess, who was chairman of the House Transportation Committee at the time of his death, and who had been instrumental in paving the way for the funding bill in the House.

Also honored were George Wolff, founder of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, and Coalition member Mike Ryan, who headed the organization’s legislative outreach efforts for the last two years. Read more

News, Video

PHIA strives to promote benefits of transportation funding

March 6, 2014 by · Comments Off on PHIA strives to promote benefits of transportation funding
Filed under: News, Video 

The passage of Pennsylvania’s $2.3 billion transportation funding bill will bring lasting benefits to motorists, and PHIA is committed to educating the public about the positive changes to come.

“Most people don’t often think about it, but the condition of Pennsylvania’s highway system affects the state’s economic health,” said Jason Wagner, PHIA managing director. “Our economy is dependent upon our highway system. This makes it especially important to keep the public informed.”

Now that the bill has passed, PHIA’s next step is to ensure that important information reaches Pennsylvania’s highway users.

“Our goal is to be the go-to source for highway information,” Wagner said. “We want to make certain that the public is kept up to date on the changes taking place and to be aware of how these changes are improving transportation for them.”

The video below outlines some of the ways funding from the transportation bill will improve Pennsylvania’s transportation system:





New Transportation Funding Law Information Available

December 6, 2013 by · Comments Off on New Transportation Funding Law Information Available
Filed under: News 

On November 25, 2013, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the most significant transportation funding package the Commonwealth has seen in nearly 17 years.  In fact, many would argue the enactment of Pennsylvania’s new $2.3 billion plan is the most significant investment in transportation since Governor Gifford Pinchot’s road-building program transformed the Commonwealth in the 1930s.

Understanding the new 127-page transportation funding law (now Act 89 of 2013) can be a daunting task.  PHIA is here to help.  We’ve created a PA’s New Transportation Funding Law page on our website to be your resource for information, summaries, charts, etc. on the new law.  PHIA plans to continually update this page as updates and additional information become available.

Please contact PHIA if you have any questions.