Ralph Edgar Peters, Former PHIA President

December 28, 2015

0002353536-01-1_20151227We are saddened to note the death of former PHIA President Ralph Peters.

Ralph was a leader in every aspect of the word and served a wide range of community organizations that provide basic human needs, employment, health care and education. He served as PHIA President from 1986 to 1993. He received PHIA’s Transportation Advocate of the Year Award in 1995.

Ralph joined the architectural and engineering firm of Louis Berger Inc. in the early 1950s as the business manager. In this position, he traveled the world, organizing offices for the company in Madrid, Hong Kong, Nigeria and in many other countries around the globe. In the 1970s he became president and CEO of Harrisburg-based Benatec Associates, a firm of architects, engineers and planners with branch offices in other states.

Visitation will be held at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1610 Carlisle Road, Highland Park, from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 2, followed by a celebration of Ralph’s life at 2 p.m. Fellowship will follow at the church. Inurnment will be private. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Parthemore Funeral Home, New Cumberland.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1610 Carlisle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011, or to the United Way of the Capital Region.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 56

December 28, 2015

PDSITELOGO2Safety Bolstered on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor
Travelers taking Amtrak between New York City and Philadelphia are now being protected by a new crash-prevention system.

The national passenger railroad over the weekend activated its version of so-called positive train control between the two cities, the last stretch of its tracks on the busy Northeast Corridor to get the system.

Low gas prices to allow many to hit the road
The 2015 Christmas travel week could be the busiest in years, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is expecting heavy traffic on Interstate 80 and on high-volume state Routes 11, 15, 45 and 61.

“We ask motorists to allow for increased travel time, be patient and drive with caution when attending holiday gatherings with family and friends,” PennDOT spokesman David Thompson said Monday.

Townships will seek $1 million to fix rail trail
A new grant will, if approved, fund repairs to the east end of the Enola Low Grade rail trail.

Providence Township will write the request for $1 million from Pennsylvania’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

The TAP program is open to grant requests until January 8, 2016. Grant applications must be for at least $500,000 and no more than $1 million.

Regional transportation panel notes concerns about biking route improvements, deficient bridges
The Southwest Pennsylvania Commission is preparing a new Transportation Improvement Plan for the 10-county region, and representatives visited Indiana County Dec. 16 to solicit feedback.

More than 30 people representing local government, business and community groups attended the Public Participation Panel at the CareerLink office on Indian Springs Road in White Township.



PennDOT Partners With Waze

December 22, 2015

WazeGovernor Tom Wolf announced a partnership between PennDOT and user-crowd-sourcing traffic app, Waze.

The app shows users a map of their route along with updates from other users. Users are able to report accidents and road conditions. The partnership with PennDOT will allow PennDOT to share its information with Waze and improve the quantity and quality of information available to users.

“As travelers rely more and more on their smartphones for real-time traffic data, this new partnership represents yet another way PennDOT is modernizing to keep up with the demands of its customers,” Governor Wolf said in his announcement.

The app is already very popular in the state and Waze reports that Philadelphia has more than 417,000 active users per month and Pittsburgh has more than 80,000 active users per month.

“PennDOT is always looking for ways to make it easier and safer to travel on our roadways,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said.

“PHIA applauds every effort to make our roads safer and to help people manage traffic congestion,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “This will be especially helpful as many Pennsylvanians prepare to travel throughout the holidays.”



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 55

December 21, 2015

PDSITELOGO2The Status Of Western Pennsylvania’s Passenger Rail System
During the last fiscal year, more than 6.1 million people reportedly traveled on Amtrak trains in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Although there has been increased interest in traveling by train in Pennsylvania, many Pittsburghers have raised concerns about a lack of convenient travel times between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

PennDOT, Waze to share information on roads
The state of Pennsylvania and popular navigation app Waze are partnering to offer drivers even more real-time information about crashes, road conditions and construction zones.

Governor Tom Wolf announced the partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Waze on Monday.

Survey Reveals How Schools in Different States Compare in Privatizing Services
Research suggests that privatizing noninstructional services can help schools improve services and keep more money in the classroom. Results from a massive survey of school districts in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania released today by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy show that districts in some states are taking advantage of this option far more than those in other states. Privatization rates for food, custodial or transportation services spanned from a low of 17 percent of districts in Ohio to a high of 75 percent of districts in Pennsylvania.

PennDOT boasts smoother roads as winter approaches
PennDOT said Tuesday an aggressive program to repair more than 200 miles of state highway in the five-county Philadelphia region has brought drivers smoother, safer roads.

“The combination of state paving contracts and last spring’s emergency patching program improved and sealed numerous state roads … that suffered severe structural damage following the last winter season,” PennDOT District Executive Kenneth M. McClain said in a statement.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 54

December 14, 2015

PDSITELOGO2Federal highway bill includes dollars for Erie-area bridges
Congress has approved a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill to improve major highway systems and help municipalities and counties replace or repair local bridges.

The bill earned bipartisan support in both the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Fixing bridges proves a ‘good deal’ for Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Wolf may be having trouble bridging the budget gap between Democrats and Republicans, but his administration has drawn praise for its efforts to mend the state’s aging bridges via innovative financing.

The Bond Buyer, a New York-based trade publication that covers the municipal bond market, named the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority’s $721.5 million Rapid Bridge Replacement Project its “Deal of the Year” for the Northeast region.

PennDOT website to track salt trucks and snowplows
After limited testing last winter, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will roll out a program that Pittsburgh says it used successfully last year: a website to allow motorists to see where salt trucks and snowplows have treated roads.

PennDOT has installed an Automated Vehicle Location system on 516 dump trucks and 212 contracted rental trucks that take care of interstate highways and expressways. That will include 58 state vehicles and six rentals in PennDOT’s District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties. Read more