PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 5

January 30, 2018

Regional transit key to economic progress

The availability of a good job means little if the worker cannot get to that job.

PhilaPort moves quickly to accommodate surge in cargo

As the port’s $392 million main channel deepening project approaches completion, cargo volumes in the Port of Philadelphia are surging. In 2017, container cargoes grew by 19 percent, leading all ports on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. The growth is especially significant since the port is busy implementing its $300 million capital improvement plan.

Mayors skeptical of Trump infrastructure plan

When big-city mayors met in Washington last week, one of their primary messages regarding infrastructure was that the federal government should send new money directly to cities, rather than through states. The Trump administration seems open to the idea.

SEPTA approves King of Prussia extension

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on Thursday approved the Norristown High-Speed Line extension that would provide direct service to King of Prussia Mall. The extension would give passengers a faster link between King of Prussia, Center City and University City.

Leaked Trump infrastructure plan would put onus on states

The Trump administration has hinted for months that its long-awaited infrastructure plan would lean heavily on new spending by states, local governments and the private sector. On Monday, a leaked outline of that plan seems to confirm that the federal government would take a back seat in funding its own infrastructure initiative.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 4

January 22, 2018

After 61 years, Interstate 95 is almost complete

Interstate 95, the country’s most used highway, will finally run as one continuous road between Miami and Maine by the late summer. The interstate’s infamous “gap” on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border will be closed, turning I-95 into an unbroken river of concrete more than 1,900 miles long.

Wolf administration announces investments to improve nine airports

Nine airports across the Commonwealth are making safety and equipment upgrades with the help of nearly $2.4 million in state investment funds.

More states turning to toll roads to raise cash

Several states are opening new toll roads this year and rates on many existing turnpikes and tollways are going up.

PennDOT relies on towns for plowing help. And is paying them more for it

It’s not often a state agency says it should be paying more for a service. But when it comes to fighting snow and ice, PennDOT this year gave handsome raises to 94 municipalities in the region.

With gas taxes in peril, more states study alternatives

After more than a decade of watching Oregon and a handful of other states test alternatives to traditional gasoline taxes, more states, with the help of federal money, are now joining the quest.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 3

January 16, 2018

CSVT progressing

The northern section of the $670 million Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) project will continue to take shape this year as work on the roadway speeds along throughout 2018.

Editorial: Despite hiccup, bridge program good for Pa.

The original plan called for the work to be complete in August 2018, but Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners agreed to speed up the work and finish in 2017, according to PennDOT spokesman Richard Kirkpatrick. But as the calendar turned, 390 bridges had been completed, leaving 168 still to be completed.

Road Warrior: PennDOT retrofitting bridges with same flaw that shut down Delaware River Bridge

PennDOT is taking pre-emptive steps to fix bridges with the same flaw that shut down a major bridge over the Delaware River last year.

 

News

PennDOT ends 2017 with $2.5 billion in construction lettings

January 11, 2018

Continued to be bolstered by Act 89, PennDOT finished the 2017 calendar year with over $479 million in project lettings in December according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  As a result, PennDOT, finished the year with just over $2.578 billion in project lettings.  At the end of 2016, PennDOT bid a total of $2.670 billion in projects.  PennDOT forecasted the 2017 letting program to be $2.6 billion and they anticipate the same for 2018.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full December letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

December Letting Report* (PDF)

 

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.

News

PHIA’s 2018 wish list

January 11, 2018

Happy New Year to one and all, and we hope you had a terrific holiday season. As we begin a new year, we thought we’d share our 2018 wish list. Here we go:

  • One of PHIA’s most important points of emphasis is public safety, not just for highway workers but for the traveling public. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 85 percent of the fatalities in highway work zones involve drivers and passengers, not highway workers. Because Maryland’s automated speed enforcement program has worked so well, reducing excessive speeding from 7 percent to less than one percent of drivers, we implore Pennsylvania’s policymakers to push for a consensus on the automated speed enforcement measure that has gone back and fourth in the General Assembly. Putting such a program into place before the beginning of the next construction season could save lives.
  • We join our fellow transportation advocates under the banner of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition in supporting a rollback of the money that has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support State Police operations. The Legislative Budget & Finance Committee says the Commonwealth has been diverting nearly $300 million more than is justified under the State Constitution, depriving Pennsylvanians of the transportation improvements they were promised preceding the passage of Act 89 of 2013. Let’s keep the transportation revenue where it belongs.
  • Along those same lines, there are other dedicated funds, most notably the Public Transportation Trust Fund and the Multimodal Transportation Fund, that are essential for building and maintaining a fully integrated transportation system that includes all modes of transportation. Again, let’s keep the transportation revenue where it belongs.
  • Another important issue is to see that drivers of hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles pay their fair share for the wear and tear they cause on our transportation assets. We can no longer place the responsibility solely on the backs of those who consume gasoline and diesel fuel.
  • Finally, for the longer term, we need to begin looking at alternatives to consumption taxes altogether and create a fee structure based on mileage. Charging drivers based on the fuel they consume does not allocate the maintenance responsibility as fairly as it should, and will become even less fair as we continue to move away from fossil fuels and toward alternatives.