PHIA News Digest – Vol. 18

April 6, 2015

PDSITELOGOStand Up 4 Transportation!
On April 9, supporters around the nation are uniting in their communities and online to send a powerful message to Congress: It’s time to provide long-term investment for America’s transportation network.

Only comprehensive, long-term federal funding will enable us to repair, maintain, and adequately expand America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, ports, and rail systems to help bring our national transportation system up to speed with the 21st century.

Public Encouraged to Participate in Online Pennsylvania Transportation Planning Meeting
As part of the update to the commonwealth’s Twelve Year Transportation Program, Pennsylvanians are invited to visit to provide input on their transportation priorities and to register for an interactive online public meeting on April 16.

The program, which serves as a blueprint of prioritized transportation projects, is updated every two years through a cooperative effort among the State Transportation Commission (STC), PennDOT and its 24 regional planning partners. The goal is to enable all Pennsylvanians to contribute their priorities and suggestions.

How to tax $2.1 trillion in offshore profits?
Large American companies have stockpiled $2.1 trillion in untaxed profits in offshore tax havens, with 26 corporations alone accounting for more than half of those profits, according to a new study from the Center for Effective Government and the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies. In the last 10 years, those offshore profits have surged more than five-fold as corporations seek strategies to reduce their U.S. tax bill.

The massive money stash is causing debate among lawmakers about the best method for convincing those companies, like tech giant Apple (AAPL), to repatriate those profits. One bill from Senators Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Barbara Boxer, D-California, for instance, proposes providing a steep incentive: a tax rate for repatriated profits of only 6.5 percent, or far below the full 35 percent rate that would normally be levied. The Paul-Boxer proposal pledges to use the taxes to fund highway repairs.

No April Fools’ Day Joke: 5,050 of Pennsylvania’s Bridges Need Structural Repair, New Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Data Finds
An analysis of the recently-released 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database finds good news and bad news when it comes to the most heavily traveled U.S. bridges.  The good news is that there are 168 fewer structurally deficient structures in Pennsylvania than there were in 2013.  The bad news is that it means 61,000 structurally deficient bridges across the nation are still in need of significant repair.  And it is a problem that hits close to home.

‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ and a Demonstration of Deadly Distraction
As Fast Lane readers know, texting offers the benefit of almost instant communication with nearly anyone around the world. But in the time it takes to send or read a text –slightly less than five seconds– a car moving at 55 miles per hour can travel roughly 100 yards. So if you text when behind the wheel, you’re essentially driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed —and possibly causing untold harm to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and yourself.

GROW AMERICA Act provides additional resources
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) submitted the proposed act to Congress this week to address “crumbling infrastructure and dwindling resources to fix it with,” according to a release.

The GROW AMERICA Act was created by USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. It is a six-year bill that would provide an additional $478 billion to fix needed infrastructure, a 45 percent increase in transportation investments.

Trying to get Congress moving on transportation funding
Next Thursday is National Stand Up for Transportation Day, an observance that will be marked locally with a rally at 10 a.m. at Wood Street Station.

The event is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association and the purpose is to encourage Congress to do its job and enact a long-term, well-funded transportation bill that gives states the ability to plan long-range projects and address crumbling roads and bridges and ailing transit systems.


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