PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 46

November 24, 2020

PennDOT seeks public-private partnership to address major bridges

Through a public-private partnership, PennDOT replaced more than 550 small bridges across the state in just under three years. Now, PennDOT hopes to do the same to address major bridges statewide.

Hundreds of Pa. road projects to halt next week without PennDOT funding

About $600 million of road and bridge projects funded by PennDOT ― including many in the Lehigh Valley ― will stop Dec. 1 unless new sources of money can be found to keep them going.

Infrastructure improvements must be a priority

State Rep. Tim Hennessey, the chairman of the House Transportation committee, said the proposal to toll Pennsylvania bridges is still in the preliminary stages.

Facing an $8.1 billion gap in funding, PennDOT is looking to the public for opinions

PennDOT has drafted the PennDOT Pathways program to explore sustainable transportation options, but it needs public input about the plan. Information is accessible here and feedback will be accepted through December 17, 2020.

$11B budget package passes Pa. legislature

Democrats criticized the use of environmental program money to balance the budget, and warned that hundreds of transportation projects would stall, inflicting layoffs on construction crews.

PennDOT launches the I-70 Belle Vernon Bridge to Bentleyville reconstruction project

PennDOT District 12-0 is pleased to announce the beginning of preliminary design to modernize an eight-mile section of Interstate-70, between Bentleyville (Exit 32) and the Belle Vernon Bridge in Washington County.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 45

November 16, 2020

PennDOT green lights plan to add tolls on some bridges

The Department of Transportation has given the green light for a proposal that could add tolls on an undetermined number of bridges. Which bridges might be involved has not been announced.

State seeks to add Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Amtrak train

Amtrak’s proposal to add another Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg daily round-trip train in about three years is good news to Sharon Calloway of Uniontown, a frequent traveler on the Pennsylvanian train from Greensburg to New York City, where she works.

Infrastructure, jobs are key to coming together under Biden, say Pa. Republicans, unions

After more than a decade of division — Republicans trying to block Barack Obama at every move and Democrats questioning Donald Trump’s legitimacy — President-elect Joe Biden is inheriting a contentious crowd.

P-3 Board approves bridge program

Pennsylvania’s Public Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Board today approved a new transportation initiative that will help accelerate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of major bridges in partnership with the private sector.

Pa. governor announces Municipal Assistance Program

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the approval of six projects through the Municipal Assistance Program to assist local governments with planning for zoning, coordinating emergency services, and creating comprehensive plans.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 44

November 10, 2020

PennDOT celebrates near-completion of Route 322/Potters Mills Gap project

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Executive Deputy Secretary George McAuley joined local officials today at a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the near-completion of the Route 322 project near the village of Potters Mills.

What an ‘Amtrak Joe’ presidency means for transportation

With Pennsylvania pushing him over the edge, former Vice President Joe Biden is now President-elect Joe Biden. The man with a railroad in his nickname can now start planning for a presidency that could be shaped — in more ways than one — by transportation and infrastructure.

$6 million secured for U.S. Route 219 completion studies

Six million dollars in federal funding has been secured for the resumption of environmental and engineering studies associated with upgrading the last two-lane section of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County to a four-lane limited-access highway, state officials announced Monday.

Would private firm want to operate the turnpike?

A recent study by the Reason Foundation suggests that Pennsylvania should consider leasing the operations of the turnpike to a private firm in exchange for a large upfront payment.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 43

November 2, 2020

PennDOT, Pa. Turnpike Commission support automated truck platooning demonstration

Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy using connectivity technology and automated driving support systems. These vehicles automatically maintain a set, close distance between each other when they are connected. Two automated and connected tractor trailers traveled from Pittsburgh, through Ohio, to Michigan.

Feds sending $15.9 million to upgrade rail signals on Amtrak’s Keystone line

The federal government is sending more than $15.9 million to upgrade railroad signals between Paoli and Overbrook. The project will replace an outdated signal system on the route, also known as the Keystone East Line. The upgraded system will improve operations, enable higher operating speeds and allow the bi-directional movement of trains on tracks in the area, officials said.



PennDOT, Turnpike Commission join in platooning demo

November 2, 2020

PennDOT and the Pa. Turnpike Commission participated in a recent demonstration of automated truck platooning, consisting of a 280-mile mission from the Pittsburgh area to food banks in Ohio and Michigan.

“Platooning” is a term for linking two or more trucks in a convoy using technology and automated driving systems that maintain a set distance between vehicles.

The demonstration was under the auspices of the Smart Belt Coalition, consisting of transportation agencies in Ohio and Michigan, as well as Pennsylvania. The trucks carried food donations to the food banks.

PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner noted that platooning could provide several benefits, including improved safety and reduced congestion, along with helping to fill a truck driver shortage.

“It hasn’t been that long ago that platooning was just an idea, but now we’re seeing the idea bloom into the testing and demonstration phases,” Wagner said. “As is the case with autonomous vehicles, these things are happening much more quickly than many people anticipated.”

For more information about the platooning demonstration project, click here.