PHIA News Digest – Vol. 77

May 31, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Pennsylvania effort would expand, extend use of automated tickets
A leading Pennsylvania state lawmaker has introduced a bill to increase and extend the state’s red-light camera program at the same time the governor has announced traffic safety grants using the ticket revenue.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, is behind a bill that covers traffic signals and the use of automated enforcement in the state.

Law enforcement across Pennsylvania buckles down on seat belt enforcement
You might want to think twice before you decide not to buckle up over the next couple of weeks.

Police in Lancaster and nationwide will be writing more tickets for seat belt violations through June 5 as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket campaign, which emphasizes increased enforcement and education.

New PennDOT Open Data Portal Puts Road, Bridge and Other Transportation Data at Public’s Fingertips
Less than a month after Governor Tom Wolf announced steps to make Pennsylvania’s data more transparent and accessible to the public, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has launched an Open Data portal housing data ranging from roadway pavement conditions to rail facility locations.

The portal,, leverages a GIS platform used in several states and helps local government, planning and business partners as well as the public. The data, grouped by roadways, bridges, rail, facilities, boundaries and projects, can be used for mapping, sharing, charting and more.

PA Tightens Drunk-Driving Law
Pennsylvania is clamping down harder on drunk driving.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed a bill into law that requires many first-time offenders convicted of drunk driving to have an ignition interlock on their vehicles for a year. The device prevents the car from starting when the driver has been drinking.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 76

May 23, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Costs of state police patrols create local tension
A long simmering controversy over communities that use Pennsylvania police for local protection is beginning to roil amid plans to raid gas taxes to pay for troopers.

The issue has festered for years among city leaders who pay for their own protection, as other suburban and rural communities accept state police assistance with no charge.

Millions from 28 Philly red-light cameras fund statewide projects
Nearly $5.5 million collected from fines for red-light violations at 28 Philadelphia intersections will fund 23 safety-improvement projects in 18 municipalities across the state, Gov. Wolf announced Monday.

The biggest chunk of money – $2.8 million – will go to five projects in Philadelphia, including $1 million for safety improvements at 30 to 50 “known crash locations,” according to a news release. Those locations were not identified.

PennDOT Announces New Bike Route Mapping Tool
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) joined other state and local officials today in kicking off Bike to Work Week May 16 – 20 by announcing the launch of a new interactive mapping tool for BicyclePA routes.

“With the many benefits of bicycling, I encourage Pennsylvanians to bike to work wherever possible,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Interest in biking continues to grow across Pennsylvania as more people recognize the benefits of incorporating active transportation, biking and walking into their lives. Our message today is that PennDOT and the commonwealth are committed to being truly multimodal.” Read more


PA Turnpike COO speaks at PHIA Policy Breakfast

May 18, 2016

IMG_0283Pennsylvania Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey joined policy leaders at the PHIA Policy Breakfast series this week to discuss recent events and the future of the PA Turnpike.

Shuey reviewed recent Turnpike events, including the move to a 70-mile-per-hour speed limit, and the challenges of the January snow storm. He was very positive about the increase in the speed limit, explaining that consistent speeds across the entire turnpike increase safety as drivers know what to expect.

“All we are about [the Pennsylvania Turnpike] is moving people safely,” Shuey said. The concern about the safety of motorists and construction workers alike has prompted the Turnpike Commission to support a proposed automated speed limit  enforcement in work zones.

Nearly 300 miles of the Turnpike have been improved, are in the process of improvements, or are slated for improvement projects. The Turnpike’s $450 million annual contribution to public transportation funding has pushed its debt toward $10 billion, but Act 89 provides for that payment to end in 2022.

“It was very valuable for our guests to hear of the projects on the Turnpike,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We will need as many allies as possible to protect transportation dollars for transportation projects.”



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 75

May 16, 2016

PDSITELOGO2The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is trying to make it easier to get to a popular state park

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the plans will be displayed Tuesday for access ramps to Moraine State Park from U.S. Route 422.

The park boasts about 1.5 million visitors a year, many of whom have to take a series of winding roads into the park from the highway. While there’s a direct ramp from the westbound lanes of the highway, there is no direct link to the highway’s eastbound lanes.


As speed limits rise on Pa. highways, fuel economy falls

Drivers will soon be able to travel at 70 miles per hour on hundreds of additional miles of Pennsylvania highways. Yet those looking to maximize their vehicle’s fuel economy would do better cruising at granny speed.

Speed limits are going up because a broad transportation funding bill that Pennsylvania lawmakers passed in 2013 allowed for the maximum highway speed limit to rise to 70 mph once studies showed the higher speed was safe.


BLOG: Three Reasons Why Ride-Sharing Is Important for Pennsylvania

Innovation in transportation is important – just like many other industries. Ride-sharing creates competition for on-demand private transportation and provides new, reliable options for traditionally under-served communities.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 74

May 12, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Pennsylvania to add 70 mph speed limit to nearly 800 miles

Motorists will get to go faster, up to 70 mph, on nearly 1,000 miles of Pennsylvania highway once transportation crews complete work they began this week posting signs with the new speed limit.

State transportation officials said Monday the 70 mph signs will be posted on 396 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 400 miles of five state highways. That’s in addition to about 200 miles where the speed limit rose to 70 in 2014.

$4.9 billion in regional transportation projects proposed

The draft Transportation Improvement Program for 2017-20 contains a $200 million increase for the 10-county area over the current plan. It continues the high level of transportation spending that began with Pennsylvania’s passage in fall 2013 of Act 89, a transportation funding bill that generates $1.1 billion more a year by eliminating the cap on the tax paid by gasoline wholesalers, plus increases in driver fees and fines.

Pennsylvania Plans On Dumping Auto Registration Stickers

Beginning on January 1, Pennsylvania motorists will no longer need to place registration stickers on their license plates. The move was intended to give a significant boost to the automated license plate reader (ALPR or ANPR) industry, but it has also kicked off a debate in the General Assembly over whether these stickers are simply a means of generating $29 million in annual citation revenue.