PHIA News Digest – Vol. 23

May 11, 2015

PDSITELOGOGreene residents deserve better roads
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission released a report looking at several aspects of the state’s bridges and roads, and found almost 9,000 miles of road within the commonwealth were rated as “poor” and are in need of work.

While there were improvements noted in driver safety, the report also found 35 percent of bridges in Pennsylvania were structurally deficient and a full half of Interstate highways in the commonwealth surpassed the volume of traffic they were originally designed to carry.

In a 21st century economy, we need a 21st century infrastructure.

This is the first licensed self-driving truck. There will be many more.
Last night at the Hoover Dam, the Freightliner company unveiled its Inspiration Truck: the first semi-autonomous truck to get a license to operate on public roads.

The Inspiration is now licensed to drive autonomously on highways in Nevada. It works a bit like a plane’s autopilot system: a driver will get the rig on the highway, and can take control at any time once it’s there. But the truck will be able to drive itself at high speeds, using cameras to make sure it stays within its lane and doesn’t get too close to the vehicle in front of it.

Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty
The impact of transportation on social mobility is stronger than several other factors, like crime, elementary-school test scores or the percentage of two-parent families in a community, said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the researchers on the study. It notes the connection in places with notoriously long commutes and poverty including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala.

Top Dem backs $11B patch for highway funding
The top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday endorsed extending federal transportation funding through the end of the year.

Lawmakers are on the “right path” by considering an $11 billion extension of the Highway Trust Fund because it improves the chances of reaching a long-term deal, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington.

Transportation chief: ‘We ought to be embarrassed as a country’
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Friday said, “we ought to be embarrassed as a country” about the state of the nation’s infrastructure, as lawmakers scramble to beat a May 31 deadline for extending federal transportation funds.

Lawmakers have talked about passing a $10 billion patch to extend transportation funding until the end of the year, but Foxx said temporary extensions are not sufficient enough to address the nation’s infrastructure needs.

“We ought to be embarrassed as a country,” he said after an appearance at a Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway station in Northern Virginia.



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