PennDOT’s July Lettings: $136 Million

July 27, 2012

The state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) bid slightly over $136 million in projects in July bringing the year-to-date total to $1.278 billion.   At this same point in 2011, PennDOT had bid $1.02 billion. 

PennDOT recently revised its 2012 letting forecast to $1.8–$2 billion.  The department initially forecasted a 2012 letting of $1.5 billion.  Deputy Secretary Scott Christie said that the upward revision is a result of additional monies realized from project close outs, 2011-12 winter savings and continued savings from an extremely competitive bidding market.  He cautioned, however, Read more


Know of any ‘choke points’ in your neck of the woods? PHIA needs to know

July 20, 2012

Although it is unlikely that the General Assembly will act on the funding issue until next year, it is extremely important to keep transportation issues in the public’s eye through the fall.  PHIA and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition plan to coordinate outreach and publicity efforts centered on a theme of “the cost of doing nothing.”

To support this effort, we are looking for examples throughout Pennsylvania of traffic “choke points” – places where congestion occurs on a daily basis, causing delays and wasting fuel and money.  As an example, if my 15-mile daily commute should ordinarily take 20 minutes, but congestion and the resulting stop-and-go traffic flow causes it to take an additional 10 minutes, I have driven the equivalent of 7 ½ additional miles.  If I do that twice daily, five days per week, I have driven the equivalent of 75 additional miles, which in my 25-mpg vehicle wastes three gallons of gas costing about $10. Read more


Case study: the cost of doing nothing

July 4, 2012

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported recently that a three-mile stretch of Parkway West – from Green Tree to the Fort Pitt Tunnel – has received the dubious distinction of being ranked as the ninth-most congested stretch of highway in the country. 

According to INRIX, an international firm that uses global positioning technology to track the movement of traffic, the average trip through that three-mile stretch takes 13 minutes.  At the 55 mph posted speed limit, it SHOULD take about 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Now bear with us while we lay a little math on you.  If it takes you an extra 9 minutes and 45 seconds to drive that three-mile stretch through stop-and-go traffic, then you have driven the equivalent of 9 extra miles.  If you’re a commuter who drives it every weekday, twice a day, by the end of the week you will have driven the equivalent of 90 additional miles.

If your car gets 20 miles to the gallon, you’ve wasted about 4.5 gallons of gasoline in a week.  At $3.50 a gallon, you’ve spent $15.75 more than you should have – all because of this one measly three-mile stretch. Read more


Transportation funding remains states’ problem

July 3, 2012

We don’t like to rain on anyone’s parade, but we’re a little puzzled with the accolades flying around regarding Congress’ approval of a 27-month federal highway funding bill last week.

Granted, these days any measure that draws bipartisan support is probably noteworthy.  But to call it – as the Obama administration did – “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and grow our economy” is an exaggeration.

Yes, a 27-month measure is better than yet another short-term extension, of which there had been nine since the expiration of the most recent multi-year funding bill.  The expired measure had been in place for six years – long enough to enable the highway construction industry to make longer-term plans and commitments, including investing in equipment and developing the work force.  Two years?  Not so much. Read more


Public-Private Partnership Legislation Set to Become Law

July 2, 2012
The following article is provided by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors:

As the General Assembly scrambled to complete the state budget before the June 30 constitutional deadline, a flurry of late night actions were taken before they adjourned for a summer recess. One of those measures affecting the industry was the final passage of House Bill 3, which will pave the way for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) law in Pennsylvania for transportation projects. The measure unanimously passed the Senate (49-0) but was more contentious in the House (117-79). The measure is now awaiting signature of Governor Corbett who indicated that he planned to sign it, possibly as early as today. Read more