PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 9

February 26, 2018

Gov. Wolf announces $11.5 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement in 35 municipalities

Gov. Tom Wolf announced that PennDOT will distribute nearly $11.5 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding to 35 municipalities statewide to fund 41 safety projects.

Rail push gains speed: Local leaders hope to expand passenger train service to Pittsburgh

Increasing rail service could help Johnstown along with other western Pennsylvania municipalities with passenger train stops – including Altoona, Greensburg, and Latrobe – become bedroom communities for Pittsburgh.

3 far-flung cities offer clues to unsnarling Manhattan’s streets

The idea translates easily into any language: Charge drivers for using congested streets and watch them change their habits. It has become an increasingly attractive tool for major metropolises overwhelmed by the traffic strangling their streets.

How could Trump’s infrastructure proposal affect southwestern PA

One displeased local Democrat is Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. He expressed frustration on Twitter over the proposed cuts in federal funding. Peduto was also upset over proposed changes to the funding formula. Cities currently receive $4 in federal funds for every $1 they offer, but Trump’s proposal means they would only receive $1 for every $4 they offer.

Wolf tries again to get state police-covered towns to pay up

There are 2,571 municipalities in Pennsylvania and yet 1,700 of them rely on the Pennsylvania State Police to provide full- or part-time police coverage. The 4,300 enlisted troopers on the force work out of 16 barracks across the commonwealth with jurisdiction over 82 percent of the state and about one-fourth (3.3 million) of the population.

 

News

Trump infrastructure plan is a starting point

February 20, 2018

President Trump recently unveiled his $1.5 trillion federal infrastructure proposal. The proposal would dole out $200 billion to states in matching federal money but require state and local governments to raise the remainder through taxation or public-private partnerships. The initiative also would allow states to generate their share by tolling.

The proposal did not specify sources for the matching federal money, saying it would result from cuts in other areas. The proposal also did not address the impending insolvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund.

The trust fund’s primary revenue source is fuel taxes, which have not been raised since 1993.

“As our friend George Wolff mentioned in the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition newsletter, the president’s proposal is a first step in addressing our infrastructure needs, but we have a long way to go.” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “In particular, this proposal must return the Highway Trust Fund to solvency to meet the states’ needs over the long term.”

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 8

February 19, 2018

Trump tempts transportation cataclysm

The tunnels are at the center of the most important rail link in the U.S. – the Northeast Corridor, which generates 20 percent of our domestic product, but is now held together with sticky tape and glue.

Project to connect I-95, PA Turnpike nears major milestone

Since I-95′s completion in 1969, plans called for creating a seamless link between the interstate and the turnpike. In 2018, project engineers say, they will finally make good on the decades-old promise to make the connection and have I-95 stretch continuously from Maine to Florida.

PennDOT to tackle rural roads, locally owned bridges under Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal

Part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2018-19 budget proposal would steer more money toward fixing rural, low-traffic roads and locally owned bridges, officials said.

PhilaPort infrastructure investments expecting another record year

After investing $1 billion and changing its name from the Port of Philadelphia to PhilaPort in 2017, the port had a record year for containerized cargo activity — a success the port is prepared to repeat.

PennDOT wants feedback for bicycle, pedestrian master plan

PennDOT wants public feedback to update its bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

Source: Trump endorsed 25-cent gas tax hike in White House confab

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PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 7

February 12, 2018

First girders for Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway bridge due on site this week

The first steel girders for the nearly mile-long bridge that will carry Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River are due on site this week.

Gov. Tom Wolf announces 45 multimodal projects for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced funding for 45 multimodal transportation projects that will benefit 22 communities. The projects, which include highways, bridges, bike and pedestrian paths, ports and waterways, are made possible through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Pa. budget toss-up: More spending, due largely to fixed costs, for criminal justice

Pennsylvania State Police would see a bump in state funding in Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2018-19 budget, up $8.8 million to $260.5 million. The proposal once again includes a $25 per capita fee for municipalities that rely solely on state police coverage, which would generate $63 million and in turn help shift that burden off the Motor License Fund and onto local taxpayers. Read more

News

Proposed budget reduces amount diverted from transportation

February 12, 2018

Governor Wolf’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year would allocate $769 million to the State Police from the Motor License Fund.

That amount compares with $778 million in the current fiscal year and continues a gradual decrease that began following a study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee last year.  The committee determined that under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the appropriate amount to be taken from the Motor License Fund should be about $533 million.

Under the constitution, money that flows into the Motor License Fund from fuel taxes and license and registration fees must be used for highway purposes, including highway safety.  The committee determined that the State Police allocate about 47 percent of their resources to highway safety.

“We’re happy to see the diverted amount reduced, although we would prefer that it occur more quickly,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner.  The committee found that reducing the diverted amount to the appropriate level would pay for paving more than 1,000 miles of roads and designing, replacing and maintaining nearly 140 bridges, he noted.

In a related matter, the proposed budget again calls for implementing a $25 per capita fee to municipalities that use the State Police as their main police force. Several legislators have introduced plans that would charge municipalities for state police coverage.  Residents of municipalities who utilize a local police force ultimately pay twice to subsidize a “free” police station for other municipalities.