CALENDAR EVENT, Events

PHIA’s March 17 PHIA Policy Leaders Breakfast Canceled

February 25, 2020

The March 17 PHIA Policy Leaders Breakfast with PennDOT’s George McAuley is canceled due to the advisories and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 Corona Virus.  We will look to reschedule at some point in the future.  We will refund all payments in full for this event.

We apologize for the inconvenience and if you have any questions, please contact that PHIA Office at:  717-236-6021 or via email at: JWagner@pahighwayinfo.org

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 8

February 24, 2020

Fewer than 10 percent of Pennsylvania drivers have Real ID

With only 223 days until the Real ID deadline, the demand for Real IDs is increasing.

Planning for I-81 upgrades moves into next stage of multi-year effort

Transportation planners are looking at ways to improve the superhighway as it traverses roughly 100 miles from the Maryland border in Franklin County, through Cumberland and Dauphin counties and about 20 miles of Lebanon County to Interstate 78.

Design work progressing on schedule for thruway’s southern section in Snyder County

Final design of the southern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway is progressing on schedule and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation anticipates no issues obtaining the remaining permits.

Pa. makes national list for top truck bottlenecks

The American Transportation Research Institute today released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America, and six Pennsylvania locations made the top 100.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 7

February 18, 2020

Rough roads: Pennsylvania facing tough decisions on transportation funding

Transportation funding will take center stage in Harrisburg in the coming weeks as officials face a Bermuda Triangle of issues that threaten the condition of local roads across Pennsylvania.

County detective, prosecutor will crack down Turnpike toll scofflaws

As part of the Turnpike’s efforts to crack down on drivers who are avoiding paying tolls, the agency that oversees more than 500 miles of highway in Pennsylvania has granted the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office $327,705.07 to investigate and prosecute fare evaders who rack up high bills between this year and the end of 2022.

‘Strike while it’s hot’: Somerset County to lobby for Route 219 completion

Somerset County Commissioners have hired a Washington, D.C., consultant with local ties to lobby the Route 219 project.

Pa. only state that doesn’t let local police use radar

Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Dauphin County, introduced House Bill 1686, which would allow local officers to use radar. It’s currently in the transportation committee and mirrors a similar measure under consideration in the state Senate.

PennDOT on mission to remind people of REAL ID deadline

PennDOT is ramping up its campaign to remind people that Oct. 1 is the deadline to comply with the federal government’s REAL ID program.

Editorial: Funding plan for Pennsylvania State Police falls far short

Meanwhile, state leaders are reducing the amount of money state police get from the motor license fund. It’s the right thing to do, as more proceeds from the gasoline tax and driver’s license and registration fees should be spent on the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Trump’s infrastructure budget big, bold and unlikely

BIG, BOLD AND UNLIKELY: The Trump administration released its proposed fiscal 2021 budget on Monday, but ultimately many of its proposals will be tossed out altogether at appropriations time.

IBTTA president, vice president take office

Samuel Johnson, chief toll operations officer for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, took office last month as president of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA). Mark Compton was also elected to serve as IBTTA’s first vice-president. Compton is Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO and will serve as IBTTA president next year.

 

News

Federal budget proposal met with skepticism

February 14, 2020

The Trump administration released its proposed 2021 fiscal budget this week. The infrastructure piece of it was quite interesting, but it has already been met with skepticism as to whether it will fly in Congress.

As part of a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure investment, the budget proposes an $810 billion, 10-year surface transportation reauthorization. The House and Senate are working on five-year plans.

But as Politico asserted in an analysis on Tuesday:

The request says the 10-year bill will be funded with contract authority, but that’s not spendable money — it’s a budgetary tool that allows states or agencies to enter into binding contracts, which the federal government promises to pay back later, usually through appropriated money. There’s very little chance lawmakers would get on board with that (although, they haven’t had much luck figuring out how to fill the Highway Trust Fund themselves). 

“Politico’s prognosis for advancing any of the current proposals may sound cynical, but there’s been no evidence pointing to a scenario in which Congress and the administration can reach a consensus,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “And however one looks at transportation funding issues – federal and state – real solutions must be funded with real money. So far, there hasn’t been agreement on how or whether to do that.”

Politico’s analysis can be found at this link.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 6

February 11, 2020

Feds break from policy, allow self-driving vehicle to bypass human-driver safety rule

For the first time, the U.S. government’s highway safety agency has approved a company’s request to deploy a self-driving vehicle that doesn’t need to meet the same federal safety standards for cars and trucks driven by humans.

Pennsylvania State Police sees decline in seatbelt use

According to state police, there were two fatal single-vehicle crashes last week, both of which involved people not wearing their seat belts.

Report: Sign advised lower speed in snowy turnpike bus crash

Light snow was falling during a bus crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that killed five people last month, and the bus had just passed a sign warning to keep below 55 mph (89 kph) on a curve, according to a preliminary investigative report released Thursday.

PennDOT to shift $3.15 billion from local roads to interstate improvements

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will shift $3.15 billion from local road projects to improvements on the interstate highways over the next nine years, a decision that has district officials scrambling to adjust their local maintenance plans to eliminate needed projects they can’t pay for.

Senate committee gives green light to sheltered bike lanes

The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, that changes state parking laws to permit protected bike and pedestrian lanes — lanes on public streets with barriers sheltering them from traffic.

PA officials conduct study on statewide littering, forming action plan to reduce it

Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful organization announced the results of a statewide litter research study on Wednesday.