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PennDOT Partners With Waze

December 22, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT Partners With Waze
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WazeGovernor Tom Wolf announced a partnership between PennDOT and user-crowd-sourcing traffic app, Waze.

The app shows users a map of their route along with updates from other users. Users are able to report accidents and road conditions. The partnership with PennDOT will allow PennDOT to share its information with Waze and improve the quantity and quality of information available to users.

“As travelers rely more and more on their smartphones for real-time traffic data, this new partnership represents yet another way PennDOT is modernizing to keep up with the demands of its customers,” Governor Wolf said in his announcement.

The app is already very popular in the state and Waze reports that Philadelphia has more than 417,000 active users per month and Pittsburgh has more than 80,000 active users per month.

“PennDOT is always looking for ways to make it easier and safer to travel on our roadways,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said.

“PHIA applauds every effort to make our roads safer and to help people manage traffic congestion,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “This will be especially helpful as many Pennsylvanians prepare to travel throughout the holidays.”

 

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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

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Happy 75th Birthday, Pennsylvania Turnpike!

September 29, 2015 by · Comments Off on Happy 75th Birthday, Pennsylvania Turnpike!
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On Thursday, October 1, the Pennsylvania Turnpike will turn 75 years old.

PTC75ANNIt’s estimated that about 10,000 people traveled the turnpike in its first few days in 1940 and sent “Greetings from Pennsylvania Turnpike” postcards.

Our turnpike was one of the first superhighways in the country, and was a huge tourist attraction. Before it opened, the commute from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh took seven hours; on the turnpike, it now takes just three-and-a-half hours.

Before the turnpike opened, the only option to travel from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia was the Lincoln Highway. Now known as U.S. Route 30, it was a mountainous two-lane road that cut through many small municipalities along the way. Read more

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Roundabouts to grow in quantity, improve safety

September 9, 2015 by · Comments Off on Roundabouts to grow in quantity, improve safety
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Drivers may begin to see more roundabouts in their Pennsylvania commutes, as studies have concluded that they are safer than traditional intersections.

ROUNDABOUTPHIAOne such study was recently conducted in the Lehigh Valley and found that there are 90 percent fewer fatal accidents in roundabouts than in intersections. They also found a 35 percent reduction in collisions with pedestrians. Unlike some traffic circles with lights, roundabouts are defined by yielding upon entry and operation without traffic signals.

This study was conducted by RK&K, on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study committee. The study recommended 26 roundabouts in the Lehigh Valley.

PennDOT is also increasing the use of roundabouts on state roads, with a handful planned for construction in the next year in District 1.

Since these constructions will be new to many Pennsylvanians, PennDOT is offering advice to motorists encountering a roundabout:

  • Slow down when approaching the roundabout and be prepared to yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Approach the “Yield” line, look to the left and check for approaching traffic within the roundabout. Circulating traffic already in the roundabout has the right of way.
  • Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. If necessary, stop at the “Yield” line until there is a safe gap in traffic.
  • Upon entering the roundabout, drivers have the right of way and should proceed counterclockwise to their exit point.
  • Drivers approaching their exit should use their right turn signal, watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to yield to pedestrians.

 “According to several studies, roundabouts will make travel safer for both motorists and pedestrians,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Safety has always been a major concern of PHIA, and we encourage motorists to travel carefully through construction sites where roundabouts are being constructed.”

 

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Corman pitches pension reform at PHIA breakfast

May 7, 2015 by · Comments Off on Corman pitches pension reform at PHIA breakfast
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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.

 

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Transportation officials are asking for public input in long-range plan update

April 1, 2015 by · Comments Off on Transportation officials are asking for public input in long-range plan update
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NEW_PENNDOTSetting Pennsylvania’s transportation priorities is a locally-driven exercise. It relies on the input of regional transportation planners and elected officials, who rely on input from community leaders and residents.

Most recently, PennDOT has taken advantage of technology and has encouraged members of the public to offer their views directly to the State Transportation Commission from the comfort and convenience of the home or office. Those agencies are keepers of the Twelve Year Transportation Program, which is updated every two years. It’s now time for that update.

The commission, PennDOT and the 24 regional planning partners will hold a live webcast on April 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, who chairs the commission, will present an update on transportation issues, and she and other PennDOT staff will answer questions submitted in advance and during the online meeting. Read more

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PHIA Co-Hosts Chairmen’s Breakfast

March 4, 2015 by · Comments Off on PHIA Co-Hosts Chairmen’s Breakfast
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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.

 

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This just in

November 24, 2014 by · Comments Off on This just in
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60minutesIt won’t come as news to those who follow PHIA, but it’s worth noting that the deterioration of America’s transportation infrastructure has come to the attention of CBS’ 60 Minutes.

Correspondent Steve Croft selected Pittsburgh and its bridges as a backdrop in a segment that aired on Sunday. He also traveled to Philadelphia to interview former Gov. Ed Rendell on what could have been a disaster with an Interstate 95 bridge, were it not for the quest for a sausage sandwich.

“Although Pennsylvania has earned a reputation for having considerable transportation system problems, we’re now better off than nearly any other state following the passage of Act 89 a year ago,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “That doesn’t mean our problem is solved, and the 60 Minutes segment pointed out that the lack of consensus at the federal level continues.”

The segment, along with two additional segments on the issue that were not aired, may be viewed here.

 

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Governor Corbett Announces Updated 12-Year Transportation Program

August 14, 2014 by · Comments Off on Governor Corbett Announces Updated 12-Year Transportation Program
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The State Transportation Commission today updated Pennsylvania’s 12-Year Transportation Program with a 50 percent boost in transportation spending directly attributable to passage of Act 89 last fall.

12YEARThe new plan anticipates $63.2 billion being available over the next 12 years for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads, compared with $41.6 billion in the last update two years ago.

“Today’s action represents a significant step forward to addressing all transportation modes,” Governor Corbett said in announcing the action. “Act 89 provides a solution to a decades old problem, and the legislature and I showed that unlike Washington, we are able to put partisan politics aside and do what’s right for Pennsylvania.”

The program, which takes effect Oct. 1, anticipates $12.3 billion being available for highway and bridge projects in the first four years. Public transit is in line for $7.9 billion; aviation, $370 million; the state’s rail-freight systems $228 million; and the newly created multimodal fund will receive $284 million in the first four years. Read more

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U.S. House passes short-term funding bill

July 18, 2014 by · Comments Off on U.S. House passes short-term funding bill
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The U.S. House this week approved by a wide margin a short-term measure that would prop up the Federal Highway Trust Fund through next spring. That it was generally welcomed by the construction industry and transportation advocates speaks to the new level of expectation that the Congress has set for itself.

As reported in The Hill (click HERE to read), a widely-read inside-the-Beltway newspaper, “both chambers’ version of the transportation bill rely on so-called ‘pension smoothing’ — a proposal that budget experts across the ideological spectrum have dubbed a gimmick.”

Moreover, Congress has once again ignored the pleas of the business community, which is pushing for a long-term funding plan. The American Trucking Association and AAA have joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in this quest. Click HERE to read more. Read more