PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9

February 2, 2015

PHIA_LOGOOn the Move: Rep. John Delaney reintroduces transportation bill
U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-6th, will take another shot at passing a transportation funding bill.

He and Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick recently reintroduced the Partnership to Build America Act, which creates a $50 billion infrastructure fund that would be paid for by selling bonds to private companies.

HDR Named Lead Designer for Pennsylvania Public-Private Partnership Replacing 558 Bridges
HDR will serve as lead design engineer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s first public-private partnership project, which recently achieved commercial close. HDR is on the Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners team tasked with replacing 558 bridges as part of the Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project.

As lead design engineer for the construction joint venture, HDR’s responsibilities include bridge and roadway design services, environmental permitting, right-of-way plan development and construction phase services. In addition to HDR, key team members include the Plenary Group, Walsh Group and Granite Construction Company.

Pennsylvania DOT Uses New Technology to ‘Stay Ahead of the Storm’
From intuitive improvements — such as better statewide communication and pre-storm protocols — to more sensible plow blades and smarter technology for plow truck drivers, the crews at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) District 9 are becoming more equipped each year to handle Pennsylvania weather as efficiently as possible.

“The key words are ‘situational awareness,’” said Walter Tomassetti, assistant district executive for PennDOT’s District 9, which includes Cambria and Somerset counties. “The focus is on being ahead of the storm.”

Advancing a Multimodal Transportation System by Eliminating Funding Restrictions
One of the most pervasive, durable, and detrimental myths in transportation policy is that highways pay for themselves, while public transportation does not. In reality, both modes require significant public subsidies, as user fees—such as fuel taxes and farebox revenues—cover only a portion of total costs. States and the federal government supplement these user fees with property taxes, bonding, and general revenues. On average, these nonuser fee revenues represent 26 percent of total annual highway expenditures.

DOT chief: Small highway fixes ‘killing our will to build’
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called Wednesday for lawmakers to pass a multi-year infrastructure funding bill, saying the cycle of temporary extensions is killing states’ willingness for road and transit projects.

It has been 10 years since Congress last passed a transportation funding bill of longer than two years.

Former Pa. Governor Urges Senators to Raise Gas Tax
Reminding lawmakers about the urgent need to rebuild the country’s aging transportation network, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told a key Senate panel on Jan. 29 that they need to raise fuel taxes.

States take the lead on transportation fund reform
Although some members of Congress are pressing for an increase in the federal gas tax, responsibility for funding transportation projects is increasingly shifting from the federal government to the states.


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