Coalition to develop regional transportation carbon-reduction policy

December 21, 2018

Pennsylvania is among a coalition of nine states and the District of Columbia that will participate in developing a regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal to cap and reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels.

Called the Transportation & Climate Initiative, its goals are to develop a cleaner transportation system that reduces congestion, promotes walking and bicycling, encourages greater use of public transportation, improves air quality and helps communities become more resilient to extreme weather events.

According to TCI, emissions from transportation account for the largest portion of the region’s carbon pollution, and a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that ambitious reductions are needed within the next decade to avoid dangerous impacts to public health, infrastructure and the environment.

The resulting “cap-and-trade” system could look much like the one in California, which began including transportation in its emission reduction program in 2015. That state’s fuel wholesalers are required to purchase emission permits, and the cost is rolled into fuel prices at the pump. The market encourages lower consumption as prices rise. Read more


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 49

December 17, 2018

Dennis Martire: Transportation infrastructure glue for blue coalition

For the Democratic Party, the road to the 2018 elections began the day after the presidential ballots were counted two years ago.

Central PA to host automated vehicle testing

Several central Pennsylvania counties are cleared to host automated vehicle testing. PennDOT has given the green light for this testing and laid out rules to keep people safe on the road.

Penn State Altoona receives gift to advance rail transportation engineering

Charles N. “Charlie” Marshall, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, has made a transformational gift to support the Rail Transportation Engineering degree program at Penn State Altoona.

Uber hopes to restore self-driving operations in a matter of weeks as it races toward a possible IPO

For a majority of the year, Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUVs have been either absent from city streets or operating with the help of human safety drivers in the wake of a fatal accident involving one of the vehicles.

Wolf administration announces investments to improve 26 airports

Twenty-six airports will make infrastructure and equipment upgrades to maintain safety and expand aviation-related operational and economic opportunities with the assistance of over $6 million in state investments, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 48

December 10, 2018

I-83 study calls for $280 million to widen interstate, more

A comprehensive study of Interstate 83 dubbed the “I-83 Master Plan” is recommending widening the roadway to six lanes, creating new interchanges and more in anticipation of predicted progressively worse congestion.

Bus operators warn plan will cost state millions and lead to fare hikes

A move to merge management of the state’s busing services for Medicaid clients will cost the state millions and likely lead to increased fares and poorer service for riders, an analysis by the trade group representing Pennsylvania’s county transit agencies maintains.

Doing some holiday driving in Pennsylvania? This column won’t brighten your spirits.

The kicker here is that our infrastructure would be much better if our lawmakers were any better at budgeting and following the law rather than maintaining a track record of raiding funds dedicated for road and bridges.

Port of Philadelphia plans to open new training center in the new year

The Port of Philadelphia plans to open a Regional Maritime Training Center in Southwest Philadelphia early in the new year. This is a first-of-its kind initiative, as there’s never been formal training for the tractor trailer drivers, forklift and crane operators at the port.

Driverless trucks to make work zones safer

Governor Tom Wolf has signed legislation that allows the use of automated work zone vehicles by PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission.



Wolf administration begins search for public transit solution

December 4, 2018

Faced with the expiration of a $400 million subsidy from the Turnpike for public transportation, the Wolf administration is beginning to set the stage for replacing that revenue.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, at the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Fall Conference last month, outlined the Commonwealth’s transportation funding needs, asserting that the $3.5 billion annual funding gap calculated in 2010 will have more than doubled by 2020 unless policymakers act. She said public transportation funding is the Commonwealth’s most pressing transportation need.

Then, last week, Governor Wolf said he supports changing the transportation funding method to relieve the burden on the Turnpike.

The combination of two legislative measures – one in 2007 and the other in 2013 – provided for a $450 million subsidy to public transportation and resulted in toll increases every year. The Turnpike has greatly increased its debt.

“I think there’s bipartisan support for actually taking a look at that, because I think we all recognize that’s unsustainable,” the governor said. “People using the turnpike are paying too much. The turnpike really is driving business away.”

Under the funding arrangement, $400 million of the subsidy will disappear by 2023 at the latest.  A lawsuit filed by an independent truckers’ organization could hasten the subsidy’s demise.

“Nobody has come up with a specific solution yet, and it won’t be easy,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “It’s encouraging to see the administration launch the process.”


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 3, No. 47

December 3, 2018

Public-Private Partnership Board approves innovative bridge plan

The Pennsylvania Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board recently approved a bridge bundling Adjusted Bid, Design-Build proposal to reconstruct 15 bridges along two interstates in Luzerne County.

PennDOT announces progress on bridge project

PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said Saturday that the state’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project is near completion, as most of the 558 poor-condition bridges listed for the public-private partnership have been completed.

Wolf sees bipartisan support for addressing Pennsylvania Turnpike toll hikes

“I think there’s bipartisan support for actually taking a look at that, because I think we all recognize that’s unsustainable,” Wolf said.

Police to disband in town where teen was killed as he fled

The town where an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by an officer is disbanding its police department, and Pennsylvania State Police will provide police services there starting this weekend.

Which PA counties see the most deadly vehicle crashes?

Here’s a look at the crash statistics for each county in 2017, based on data provided by PennDOT.