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PennDOT Posts List of Decade of Investment Projects

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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DECADEiconnewThe PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) posted a list of over 250 additional projects that are now able to be completed as a direct result of Act 89–Pennsylvania’s new transportation funding law.  The lists are separated by PennDOT district and represent those “Decade of Investment” projects that were discussed during the funding bill discussions by the General Assembly.

To view or download the list(s), you can click HERE.

 

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Corbett unveils “Decade of Investment” for transportation

April 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Gov. Tom Corbett announced today that PennDOT will invest $2.1 billion in bridge and highway work this year, about $600 million more than would have been available without passage of the Transportation Funding Act last fall.

At a news conference in Harrisburg, Corbett said 250 projects will begin this year directly as a result of the funding act, for a total of more than 900 projects overall.

IMG_1447Echoing themes that the construction industry has been using over the last few years, the governor said the funding plan would create safer roads, bridges and public transportation systems, while saving 12,000 jobs immediately and creating 50,000 more during the next five years. He said 18,000 jobs would be created this year alone.

Some of the higher-profile projects include:

  • Rehabilitating the Birmingham Bridge in Pittsburgh.
  • Rehabilitating the Spring Garden Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
  • Resurfacing the Trexlertown bypass in Lehigh County.
  • Resurfacing more than 145 miles of roads in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Resurfacing and bridge preservation on the Lock Haven Bypass, in Clinton County.
  • Resurfacing more than 142 miles of roads in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the plan will enable PennDOT to remove weight restrictions on more than 100 state and local bridges in 2014. The department had been forced to begin posting weight restrictions last year in the absence of a funding measure.

The governor noted that local governments and transit systems also will benefit from the funding measure. Nearly 50 public transportation projects will enter the design stage or begin construction that would have remained on hold without the new funding. Local governments will receive a $25 million increase in transportation funds this year, growing to a $220 million annual increase in five years.

And finally, Corbett directed PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch to again review PennDOT’s procedures to identify efficiencies to assure that the new revenue is spent wisely. To date, PennDOT has implemented efficiencies that will save about $100 million per year.

Despite raising an additional $600 million this year, primarily by uncapping the Oil Company Franchise tax, gasoline prices are almost exactly where they were one year ago, and nearly 40 cents per gallon less than two years ago.

“The funding act goes a long way toward stemming the tide of deterioration of Pennsylvania’s transportation system,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “To have done it without significantly impacting gas prices speaks to the success of the General Assembly and the governor in striking the right balance in improving safety, relieving congestion and creating jobs in Pennsylvania.”

To read the governor’s news release and press materials, click here.

For PHIA’s summary of the funding act, click here.

Each of the 11 PennDOT districts will hold separate news conferences outlining the specifics in each region.  A master list of projects will be posted on PennDOT’s website later today at www.dot.state.pa.us

 

 

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Writer says U.S. derailed itself on infrastructure decades ago

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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congress progressIn a recently published Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed article, Robert W. Patterson emphasizes the importance of infrastructure in creating and preserving family-sustaining jobs.

Patterson, an aide to former President George W. Bush and Gov. Tom Corbett, provides historical context on how America strayed from its prosperous course of nation-building that made the U.S. a superpower.

In 1971, Congress voted to end funding for the next-generation commercial airliner, the Boeing 2707 SST, essentially ending a century-long streak of national infrastructure development. The decision was followed with additional legislative acts of the ‘70s, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, which blocked further infrastructure projects due to its heavy restrictions. Read more

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U.S. Highway Trust Fund could run out by July

March 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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USDOTTRUSTFUNDThe federal Highway Trust Fund could run out of money as early as July, according to a recently updated projection by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Oct. 1, the beginning of the current fiscal year, the highway portion of the trust fund had only $1.6 billion in it. It received $9.7 billion from the General Fund, bringing its total up to $10.4 billion, but the account has already been diminished by nearly $3.3 billion since then.

The mass transit portion of the trust fund began the fiscal year with $2.5 billion, and received a transfer from the General Fund which brought its balance up to $4.5 billion. The balance stands at around $3.2 billion, as of the last week of February.

The quickly diminishing funds could mean trouble for the states. The trust fund allocates about $1.6 billion annually to the state of Pennsylvania for road construction.  The sudden loss of federal funding would, in essence, undo the transportation funding act that passed last year. Read more

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PHIA strives to promote benefits of transportation funding

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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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:

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

News

PennDOT Continues Strong Lettings

March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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NEW_PENNDOTThe effects of Act 89 continue to spike PennDOT lettings in 2014.   PennDOT bid a little over $89 million in projects in February, bringing the year-to-date total to over $311 million. At this same point in 2013, PennDOT only bid $161.2 million 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

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

February 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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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.

Read more

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Washington infrastructure event provides many questions, few answers

February 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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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

News

PennDOT Starts Off 2014 with $222 in Lettings

February 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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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

News

New Transportation Funding Law Information Available

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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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.

 

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