PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 25

June 26, 2018

Experts say a regional approach is essential for tackling freight transportation

As construction of warehouses and distribution centers continues to increase throughout the region, the challenges of transporting all that freight continue to rise in importance.

PennDOT secretary addresses local freight issues at summit

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards reviewed steps Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has taken to address freight-related challenges at the first in-the-state summit.

To combat potholes, cities turn to technology

In a growing number of cities, including Omaha, Nebraska; Hartford, Connecticut; and San Diego, residents can download an app for reporting potholes. In Houston, residents can check out the Pothole Tracker app or log on to a website and see graphics and charts showing the city’s progress in fixing them.

How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects around the country

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

OOIDA seeks class action status for Pennsylvania toll lawsuit

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association are asking a federal court to grant class action status to their lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. If granted, more than 100,000 motorists could be potential class members in a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of “excessive” toll increases on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

New buses running on natural gas

This morning Amtran introduced five new compressed natural gas buses. They held a special ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at their operation center on Fifth Avenue in Altoona.



House, Senate to try once more to advance automated speed enforcement bill

June 19, 2018

The reasons for the General Assembly to pass an automated speed enforcement bill are compelling:

  • Across the country, an average of 14 motorists and 2 highway workers are killed in work zones every week.
  • The number of work zone crashes is increasing – by 42 percent since 2013.
  • The rate of fatal crashes in work zones is greater than fatal crashes elsewhere.
  • Automated speed enforcement is proven to work. Once Maryland drivers became accustomed to that state’s program, the proportion of drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 12 miles an hour dropped from 7 percent to less than 1 percent.
  • The right to be safe in a work zone – for travelers and construction workers alike – is more important than the right to not be photographed while breaking the law and putting lives at risk.

“There have been numerous opinions about what should and should not be in the bill,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “As House and Senate members come together once more to iron out their differences, we urge them to look at those differences through the lens of what would make work zones safer for both travelers and workers. Maryland has shown that it can be done.”

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors recently developed a fact sheet outlining why automated speed enforcement makes sense. To view it, click here.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 24

June 18, 2018

Pennsylvania is the only state that bans cops from using radar

The state is the only one nationwide that bans municipal police officers from using radar to enforce speed limits. For the last 57 years, Pennsylvania has reserved that technology for state troopers.

Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan: Rob Peter to pay Paul

Raiding one tax source to pay for something else yields a vicious cycle. Politicians use crumbling roads as a justification to raise gas taxes. They use underfunded state worker pensions as a justification to raid the gas tax revenues, leaving potholes unfilled. Then potholes become an excuse to raise gas taxes further.

PennDOT to discuss regulations with autonomous vehicle operators

Autonomous vehicle operators will have a hand in shaping regulations that will govern how they test the technology on public roads. Within the next few weeks, PennDOT plans to meet one-on-one with the five self-driving car entities in the state.

Over $2.5 million funding Penn State’s transportation research program

Two and half million dollars has been granted to the Mid-Atlantic Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi-Modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 23

June 11, 2018

Casey joins local airport fight

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., took up the cause of west-central Pennsylvania’s rural airports last week, calling on the U.S. Department of Trans­portation to keep funding flights in Altoona and Johnstown.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE THRUWAY PROJECT: ‘Everything here is big … and dirty’

Half a century after the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation conceived of a mid-state highway — and after many years when plans had to be halted due to lack of revenue — the $670 million Central Susquehanna Thruway is now fully-funded, and construction is well underway. The northern section is due to be completed by 2022.

Elaine Chao touts rural benefits of INFRA grants at DOT ceremony

The latest Infrastructure For Rebuilding America grants will increase mobility in both rural and urban areas, according to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Bucks County contracts more than $2.5 million bridge projects

The commissioners unanimously voted last month to approve a $2 million contract with Easton-based construction firm Bi-State Construction Co., Inc. to completely reconstruct Bucks County bridge #220, located on Mill Creek Road over Martins Creek in Falls. The county will provide the full funding for the project, then receive 80 percent back through PennDOT’s retro-reimbursement program, according to Bucks Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler.

PennDOT expects to have section of Route 30 reopened by end of June

PennDOT expects to have a section of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh reopened by the end of June. Gov. Tom Wolf said the collapsed section of the road should be back open by June 26. Read more


PHIA mourns the loss of Senator Roger Madigan

June 4, 2018

Our thoughts this morning are with the family of former state Sen. Roger Madigan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 88. Senator Madigan, of Luthers Mills and Harrisburg, served as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee for many years and was a 2008 recipient of PHIA’s Transportation Advocate of the Year Award. His public service had a lasting positive impact on Pennsylvania and its residents. Funeral arrangements will be announced and are under the direction of the Gerald W. Vickery, Jr. Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. 1093 West Main Street, Troy, PA 16947.

“Senator Madigan’s contributions to transportation in the Commonwealth are immeasurable,” said PHIA managing director Jason Wagner. “The Senator was one of the finest gentlemen PHIA has ever worked with in the General Assembly.  He will be sorely missed and PHIA extends our deepest sympathies to his family during this time.”