PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 8

February 23, 2021

PennDOT announces ‘major bridge P3 initiative’

As part of its study to explore sustainable transportation funding methods and completing critical projects, PennDOT today announced the bridges being considered for its PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative, and the coming industry opportunities to participate.

Do you agree with PennDOT’s plans to add tolls on nine bridges across the state?

 

Editorial: The dollars and sense of toll bridges

PennDOT is planning to expand its network of toll roads with the Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) Initiative — a $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion investment in rehabilitation of up to nine Interstate bridges, announced in November.

DEP announces new funding to expand Pa.’s electric vehicle infrastructure

Efforts to expand Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle infrastructure are coming in the form of grant funding and new charging stations, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Friday.

Biden discusses COVID relief and infrastructure with top labor leaders

President Joe Biden told 10 top union leaders on Wednesday that his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan and a separate measure to modernize U.S. infrastructure would boost the U.S. economy and create millions of good-paying jobs.

Pennsylvania State Police will escape legislative scrutiny in 2021 budget process

One of the nation’s largest statewide police forces, the Pennsylvania State Police, will not be subject to annual budget hearings, shielding the department from lawmakers who have used the forum in the past to question officials and hold them accountable.

State police should not be given pass in budget hearings

The Pennsylvania State Police is one of the largest police forces in the United States, with more than 4,200 troopers, 1,800 civilian employees and an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion. Yet as budget hearings got under way in Harrisburg this week, the House Appropriations Committee decided not to conduct a budget hearing for the agency.

Speed and you’ll get the picture

Motorists, beware. Those speed cameras at some work zones throughout the state that I warned you about last year are coming up on their first anniversary, and they are doing the job.

 

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Biden pitches infrastructure plans in meeting with labor reps

February 19, 2021

While President Biden’s coronavirus relief plan is getting most of the public policy attention lately, his meeting this week with labor leaders also had infrastructure on the agenda.

“We rank something like 38th in the world in terms of our infrastructure – everything from canals to highways to airports,” Biden was quoted as saying, noting that it underscores the need to increase U.S. competitiveness in that area.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 230 trade groups on Wednesday urged Congress to enact comprehensive infrastructure legislation by July 4.

“Given the economic and unemployment conditions, and the bipartisan support that infrastructure enjoys in Congress, it appears that things could finally be lining up for a comprehensive infrastructure program,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “It would give a significant boost to the economy, in both the short and long term.”

We hope to have frequent updates as the initiative advances, and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for the July 4 launch date.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 7

February 16, 2021

Chamber pushing for radar in municipal police departments

The House Transportation Committee will soon be working on radar for every municipal police department in Pennsylvania, a topic that’s been pushed by the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee.

PennDOT to decide Thruway work plan for crews

PennDOT officials will have a plan within the next two months on whether construction crews will work 24/7 in the southern section of the $865 million Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project.

Solar farm designed to lower SEPTA’s carbon footprint

The 17.5-megawatt solar farm in Franklin County was recently made operational, marking a step in Pennsylvania’s decarbonization efforts. The project, Elk Hill Solar 2, developed under a power purchase agreement between SEPTA and Lightsource bp, is helping advance energy and sustainability priorities for both SEPTA and the commonwealth.

PennDOT offering Pa. homeless free ID’s

Pennsylvanians who are homeless are now able to get a free photo ID or renewal of a photo ID at PennDOT driver license centers throughout the state.

PennDOT wins national award for safety

PennDOT was recently recognized with two 2020 Annual Transportation Systems Management & Operations awards presented by the National Operations Center of Excellence.

Electric-powered trucks rule pursued in Pennsylvania

A renewed effort at the Pennsylvania statehouse would adopt a federal weight exemption for electric-powered trucks in place in the majority of states. Currently, the state of Pennsylvania authorizes electric-powered trucks to weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 6

February 9, 2021

PA Motor Truck Association opposes bridge tolling proposal

With little public notice or attention, PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board approved the “Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative” on November 12, 2020 that will institute tolls on five to 10 interstate bridges across the Commonwealth.

Mississippi, Pennsylvania bills would revise speed radar rules

In Pennsylvania, a renewed effort would authorize speed radar by municipal police. The Keystone State is the only state in the country that prohibits municipal police from enforcing speed limits with radar. Since 1961, only state troopers are allowed to use radar.

Gov. Wolf calls for state police fee for municipalities… again

Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal once again includes a municipal fee that’s expected to raise $168 million for the Pennsylvania State Police. Unlike in previous years, when the proposal failed to pass the legislature, this fee would be charged to all municipalities based partially on services rather than focusing on a specific group of communities.

Senate confirms Buttigieg as transportation secretary

Pete Buttigieg won Senate approval Tuesday as transportation secretary, the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post. He’ll be tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and fighting climate change.

Toll hikes proposed for bridges crossing Delaware River between NJ, PA

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has proposed increasing tolls on eight of its crossings between New Jersey and Pennsylvania this year and again in 2024.

 

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Senate Transportation Committee hears details on P-3 plan

February 3, 2021

The Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing last week on PennDOT’s plan to boost transportation construction revenue by entering into Public-Private Partnerships with firms that would upgrade or replace select Interstate bridges and toll them.

PennDOT says it plans to select up to 10 bridges in geographically dispersed regions of the Commonwealth. Officials said they plan to identify the selected bridges next month.

Representatives of the PA Motor Truck Association said they are strongly opposed to tolling existing infrastructure. They explained that they are not able to recover tolling charges from their freight customers, and that the plan would have a detrimental impact on their industry.

Two Republican senators have introduced a resolution that would block the P-3 plan. The hearing was the first for Sen. Wayne Langerholc since he was named majority committee chair. He indicated there could be additional hearings on the issue.