News

Transportation advocates searching for truck-parking solutions

May 28, 2020

COVID-19 illuminated an already-worsening dilemma when the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT closed down Pennsylvania’s rest areas, attempting to control the spreading virus. The dilemma? Parking facilities for trucks.

While many members of the motoring public simply stopped driving and sheltered in place, the nation’s freight haulers still had work to do – especially when those hunkering down at home began ordering everything from hand sanitizer to dog food from on-line purveyors. Pennsylvania scrambled to restore truck parking areas, and most if not all of the Commonwealth’s rest stops are up and running again.

It was already becoming an issue as the market for online purchases is growing rapidly. The American Transportation Research Institute’s most recent Top Industry Issues report identified truck parking as fifth among the trucking industry’s top concerns. Read more

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 21

May 26, 2020

Speeds of 100 mph or more, not congestion, are the concern for Memorial Day weekend traffic

Transportation officials are not worried about too many cars on the roads for the holiday weekend, but how fast drivers are going, and have been traveling, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government groups launch truck parking survey

Truck parking challenges in the Northeast amid the coronavirus pandemic — due in part to shipment type or route changes — are being surveyed by a group of 13 transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations.

PA Turnpike facing financial burden amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects almost every type of business, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is not being spared. Turnpike officials said they have been hit financially just like everyone else, and there’s no telling how they will bounce back.

PennDOT filling pent-up demand at driver’s license centers

Although she turned 16 in April, the closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19 meant that Laina Whipkey was barred from going to a PennDOT driver’s license center to test for her driver’s permit.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 20

May 18, 2020

Report: Highway fatalities reach new low in 2019, PennDOT officials say

PennDOT officials announced Thursday that the state total of highway fatalities reached an all time low in 2019, dropping to 1,059 total fatalities.

Representatives urging study on impact of electric cars

State Reps. Liz Hanbidge (D-Montgomery) and Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) are urging a study of the impact of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.

Pandemic put $1 billion hole in Pennsylvania’s transportation budget

PennDOT is delaying new construction and downgrading resurfacing to patching and sealing as state highway workers return to work after a seven-week coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

PennDOT to use existing photos for drivers license, identification card renewals

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, PennDOT says it will use existing photos on file for customers renewing their driver’s license and identification cards.

PennDOT extends deadlines for vehicle registrations, inspections

PennDOT announced Tuesday that expiration dates for vehicle registrations and safety and emission inspections will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, according to a press release.

 

News

New report cites poor condition of PA’s rural roads and bridges

May 15, 2020

Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest number of deteriorating rural bridges in the country, according to a new study by a national transportation research organization.

The report, produced by a Washington-based nonprofit organization known as TRIP, said 17% of Pennsylvania’s rural bridges are in poor condition, compared with a national average of 8%. It says the country faces a $211 billion backlog in funding for needed repairs and improvements to the rural transportation system.

The report also noted that in 2018, Pennsylvania had 479 fatalities on non-Interstate rural roads. The rate of traffic fatalities on these roads is significantly higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state – 2.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.90.

Moreover, Pennsylvania ranks 16th in the country in rural pavements in poor condition at 19%, compared with the U.S. average of 13%.

TRIP says the report focused on Rural America because it is the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that drives the U.S. economy. It accounts account for 97% of America’s land area and is home to the vast majority of the nation’s 2.2 million farms.

“This report comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is shrinking the revenue available to repair and maintain our bridges and highways,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “This is an issue that policymakers need to address quickly and comprehensively.”

The report, titled “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” can be viewed at this link. For more information about TRIP, visit the organization’s website.

 

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 19

May 11, 2020

Feds OK I-83 widening project

The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on an Interstate 83 widening project that could displace nearly 100 York County homeowners and businesses. The project, covering roughly 5 miles of the I-83 corridor from Exit 19 to Exit 22 — Market Street to North George Street — received FHA approval April 20 based on an environmental and engineering assessment conducted in August.

With April revenue down 30 percent, PennDOT counting on federal aid

The fate of PennDOT’s operations lies in whether the department receives a chunk of federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

PennDOT makes changes for drivers during pandemic

PennDOT advises drivers to not worry about renewing licenses if they have expired during the stay at home order. Any licenses or ID’s that have expired from March 16th to May 31st will be valid until June 30.

Bridges connecting Pa., New Jersey to collect cash again

Drivers making the trip over the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania will soon be able to use cash again on four bridges. Starting Monday, May 11, at 6 a.m. the Delaware River Port Authority will begin taking cash payments again for tolls on the Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Commodore Barry and Walt Whitman bridges, connecting South Jersey with Philadelphia and Delaware County, the DRPA announced Wednesday.

PennDOT says $800M in federal aid needed to keep non-critical projects rolling

Facing a drop in gas tax revenue from fewer motorists driving at a time when the Pennsylvania Turnpike won’t turn over more than $100 million due in July, PennDOT might delay noncritical bridge and highway projects if the state does not get $700 million to $800 million in covid-19 federal aid this summer, agency officials said Tuesday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary says CARES Act has ‘done a great deal’ for state

In an interview seen only on KDKA, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao was asked if her Department was doing enough to help this region. Chao insists the CARES Act is helping local agencies.

PennDOT implementing COVID-19 guidelines as projects reopen

When work resumes on the Upper Bridge section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway on Monday, all contract workers will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines as required by a safety plan submitted by the contractor, and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.