PHIA News Digest – Vol. 50

November 16, 2015

PDSITELOGO2PA transportation head says agency is underfunded
In a retrospective look at 2015, state Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards touted efforts to improve efficiency and customer service, but said Pennsylvania continued to face funding that fell shy of the amount needed to fully maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“We are far short of everything we’d like to do,” said Richards, a former Montgomery County commissioner.

PennDOT aims to stop flow of flooding costs
For the past 10 years, flooding has cost the state Department of Transportation more than $210 million in damage to state roads and bridges.

As a result, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced Thursday that the state will conduct a four-phase study to identify current flood-prone areas and areas with the potential to flood in the future and recommend ways to mitigate flood damage to transportation assets.

Gas money siphoned to pay state police
Lawmakers gave Pennsylvania the highest gas tax in the land two years ago to step up the pace of road and bridge repairs. Now, those who lobbied hardest for the tax are questioning where the money’s being spent, as officials dip deeper into the fund to pay state police.

A Republican budget vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf would have diverted $750 million from the highway fund to the state police. Wolf proposed a $739 million shift.

Extra $200M for Pa. road, bridge projects, but it’s still not enough
Pennsylvania’s municipalities will have nearly $200 million extra to invest in their roads this year as a result of state funding decisions, but that still won’t meet all the outstanding needs of worn roads and decades-old bridges.

Local governments will have a collective $626 million this year to put toward their infrastructure, according to PennDOT officials, compared to $437 million before the state passed its transportation funding package Act 89 in late 2013. The extra money includes savings from a statewide bridge repair project and increases in the liquid fuels tax, among other sources.

When and where do we crash?: Analyzing 6 years of PennDOT data
There are few things as pervasive in our lives as the region’s road network. We drive the roads daily – to work, to shop, to travel. We don’t like to think about it, but statistics show that most of us will be in a traffic crash at some point during our lives. Any crash, no matter how minor, can be a traumatic, life-altering event.

It was in that vein that we began reviewing crash statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Our first step: Request data for a single year – 2014.


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