PHIA News Digest – Vol. 39

August 31, 2015

PDSITELOGO2Road to nowhere: Congressman says there’s still no long-term federal transportation funding plan
The U.S. Congress has been unable to agree on a long-term plan to fund thousands transportation projects around the country — including Pennsylvania. And U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta is sick and tired of it.

Members of the Associated Pennsylvania Contractors met with Barletta Tuesday to discuss what progress has been made to develop a long-term, federal transportation funding plan. The prognosis, Barletta explained, is not good.

Driverless truck meant to improve safety in work zones
Roving construction crews – the kind you see blacktopping a road, painting lines, inspecting a bridge or installing a traffic signal – are often protected from oncoming traffic by a specialized truck outfitted with a crash barrier.

The crash trucks, fitted with a device called a truck-mounted attenuator, have been credited with saving lives. But the workers who drive them are inevitably placed in harm’s way, “literally waiting to be struck,” said Robert Roy, president of Royal Truck & Equipment Inc. in Coopersburg.

New PennDOT website shows active and planned projects
Pennsylvanians looking for information on construction projects, improvements underway because of Act 89, the state’s transportation funding plan, as well as projects scheduled through 2026 have a new resource —

There’s no such thing as a free lunch or free road and bridge repairs
Thomas L. Friedman is a columnist for the New York Times who began his career covering Beirut, Lebanon, in the 1980s. He now writes about foreign affairs and, occasionally, the domestic scene. The day before the Republican debate on Fox News, Friedman wrote he would like to ask one question of the candidates who made the prime-time segment.

“As part of a 1982 transportation bill, President Ronald Reagan agreed to boost the then 4-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax to 9 cents, saying, ‘When we first built our highways, we paid for them with a gas tax,’ adding, ‘It was a fair concept then, and it is today. Do you believe Reagan was right, and would you agree to raise the gasoline today so we can pay for our highway bill?”

Bartolotta bill aims to regulate transportation-networking operators
State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Dist. 46) introduced a bill on Thursday to regulate Pennsylvania transportation-networking businesses such as Uber and Lyft, which are currently operating throughout the state under the Public Utility Commission’s temporary authority.

“Legislation is necessary to ensure these companies are allowed to operate after the temporary authority expires,” Bartolotta said. “It is important for state laws to keep pace with the rate of modernization. While there is a golden opportunity for transportation-network companies to provide new options for consumers, it is also necessary that we ensure these new services operate responsibly and safely.”


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