PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 8

February 20, 2017

Proposed state police fee a bargain compared to costs of municipal forces

Valley municipalities relying on Pennsylvania State Police for primary coverage may be forced to pay a new fee for the service, but it’s substantially cheaper than what neighboring municipalities already spend on local police departments.

Small towns lose sleep over state police fee: Can places like Pillow afford crime protection?

Like many rural communities, Pillow relies solely on the state police for protection. Borough officials say troopers seldom patrol here and rarely respond to anything as dramatic as the two recent bank heists. When state troopers do come to Pillow, however, their services are free of charge.

That could soon change.

PennDOT official: State making progress on structurally deficient bridges

A new report calls for more investment on bridge repairs, saying 2106 federal transportation data revealed motorists travel across the nation’s 55,710 structurally compromised bridges 185 million times daily.

Turnpike bridge repair draws national talent

A search for expertise has stretched across the country in the effort to repair the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have hired four construction firms, eight engineering contractors, and two national engineering experts, including the man who first publicly identified welds as a factor that caused a crack in a beam in the bridge, to assist in the repair work. That crack prompted closure of the bridge Jan. 20, and it is expected to remain closed to traffic until at least April.

Pa county to fix 33 bridges in first-of-its-kind project

Across Pennsylvania about 6,500 locally owned bridges are considered “structurally deficient.” Fixing them can be a challenge for small communities with tight budgets and few in-house resources.

But a northeastern Pennsylvania county is set to fix 33 bad bridges in one fell swoop and, if the project proves successful, potentially clear out its inventory of 99 structurally deficient or deteriorating bridges over the next few decades. It is able to do so through a public-private partnership, or P3 arrangement, similar to a program PennDOT rolled two years ago out to fix 558 bridges across the commonwealth.

Four things PennDOT can — and can’t — tell Pennsylvania about self-driving cars

Uber’s had self-driving cars picking up and dropping off Pittsburghers since September. And on Friday, Ford joined Uber, Delphi and CMU in the self-driving vehicle development game here.

It’s something state transportation laws don’t account for, and only one current law applies to testers of self-driving cars: A licensed driver must be in the driver’s seat, but doesn’t have to touch the wheel.

So what does the testing mean for Pennsylvanians? How does it impact their money and their travel?

Schwank introduces bill for funding PSP coverage of municipalities

A state senator from Berks County is taking another go at a bill to provide equitable Pennsylvania State Police coverage to municipalities without their own department.

Sen. Judy Schwank said Senate Bill 382 would offset funds the state provides to municipalities from motor license revenue in the same amount as the value of the state police coverage to any municipality with a population of 5,000 or more.


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