PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 22

May 31, 2022

PennDOT: Inflation undercutting benefits of infrastructure funding

Now, with rampant inflation and problems getting basic materials like concrete and asphalt, especially for overnight work, PennDOT officials say they are concerned that the federal windfall may not have nearly the benefit they expected.

Transportation options growing in valley

Rabbittransit is in the early stages of a three-year pilot program in the area. Expanding on its fixed-route service previously available in the region, late last year, rabbittransit rolled out its Stop Hopper service. That allows a rider to pay $2 for a ride to and from a desired destination as long as they fit within a given zone. The first regional zone included Selinsgrove, Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam, Sunbury and parts of Northumberland.

PennDOT, PSP, Highway Safety Network focus on seat belt safety with ‘Click It or Ticket’

The agencies are working with municipal police departments and other safety partners across the commonwealth to participate in the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization, running through June 5.

 

News

Court halts major bridge initiative; PennDOT appeals

May 25, 2022

A Commonwealth Court judge issued an injunction last week that temporarily blocks PennDOT from proceeding with plans to restore or replace nine major bridges and pay for the initiative by tolling the bridges.

Judge Ellen Ceisler ordered the halt, ordering PennDOT to stop all studies, right-of-way acquisitions, construction or work under any contracts, and put off any planned hearings, meetings or spending, pending the resolution of a related lawsuit.

The tolls were opposed by Cumberland County and seven municipalities, which contended that the process was illegal and unconstitutional. PennDOT quickly filed an appeal.

Judge Ceisler said the Public-Private Partnership Board “essentially approved a massive multi-billion-dollar infrastructure initiative on an admittedly meager record, consisting of a four-page recommendation from (PennDOT), a presentation, and minimal discussion, and without understanding which, or how many, pieces of public infrastructure the initiative would affect.”

The nine bridges being considered are the Interstate 83 span over the Susquehanna River between Dauphin and Cumberland counties; I-78′s Lenhartsville Bridge in Berks County; I-79′s bridges over State Route 50 in Allegheny County; I-80′s bridges across Canoe Creek in Clarion County, Nescopeck Creek in Luzerne County, North Fork in Jefferson County and the Lehigh River, near Wilkes-Barre; I-81 over the Susquehanna River in northern Pennsylvania; and the Girard Point Bridge in Philadelphia.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 21

May 23, 2022

Fern Hollow Bridge report shows deterioration months before collapse

An inspection report of the Fern Hollow Bridge shows it was suffering widespread decay just four months before it collapsed.

PA judge halts bridge tolling plans, for now

A judge has ordered a temporary halt to Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to toll as many as nine major bridges on interstates in Pennsylvania, siding Wednesday with Cumberland County and a handful of municipalities that are challenging the process as both illegal and unconstitutional.

How to bring bike lanes to southeastern PA

The Bicycle Friendly Resurfacing Program is an effort between the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and PennDOT with the goal of identifying roads in the four suburban counties in the southeastern Pennsylvania area that are good candidates for bicycle facilities before the resurfacing process begins.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 20

May 18, 2022

Northern CSVT will be open to traffic in July; work on southern section to start Monday

Ted Deptula, the assistant construction engineer for PennDOT District 3-0, and Matt Beck, a PennDOT assistant plans engineer, updated members of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee via Zoom on Friday. The first contract for the southern section was also awarded this week, and work is expected to begin on Monday.

PennDOT Announces 2021 statewide traffic fatalities

Pennsylvania roadway deaths were up about 9% in 2021. This increase is in line with a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, projecting a national increase of approximately 12% in the first nine months of 2021.

Construction starts at site of collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge

Construction is now underway at the site of the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge, welcome news to businesses in the area.

Tolling plan dropped for 1 side of I-78 bridge after community input

Community input was part of the reason plans for the I-78 bridge were changed from tolling in both directions, to tolling now only being pursued for westbound traffic, PennDOT said.

PennDOT to host public hearing on I-83 bridge tolling plan

The public hearing is scheduled to take place both in Cumberland and Dauphin counties, with the Cumberland County hearing scheduled for 3:30 to 7 p.m. May 25, at Penn Harris Hotel, 1150 Camp Hill Bypass, Camp Hill. The Dauphin County hearing is scheduled for the next day at Hilton Garden Inn-Harrisburg East, 3943 Tecport Drive, Harrisburg.

PennDOT announces the completion of the 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan

PennDOT announced the 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan to establish the priorities and critical transportation strategies to guide Pennsylvania’s project investments.

Diesel in PA among highest in the country, at $6.22 per gallon

The average price of diesel fuel in Pennsylvania is nearly seventy cents more per gallon than the national average, according to AAA.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 19

May 9, 2022

Pa. takes baby steps away from gas tax, toward fee for miles driven

Following a slowly growing national movement, Pennsylvania may be ready to try the idea of charging drivers a mileage-based fee to make up millions in transportation revenue lost to more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric cars.

Biofuels industry still waiting on subsidies to compete with oil, gas, electric vehicles

The biofuel industry could dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions from cars and improve air quality, but the effects of the pandemic and government subsidies for green competitors like electric vehicles makes future growth a tough road ahead.

Norman Mineta, transportation secretary in 9/11 era, dies

Norman Mineta, who broke racial barriers for Asian Americans serving in high-profile government posts and ordered commercial flights grounded after the 9/11 terror attacks as the nation’s federal transportation secretary, died Tuesday. He was 90.

One year from full implementation, nearly 7M Pennsylvanians without REAL ID

With a year before the federal government enforces its REAL ID requirements, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is encouraging state residents to update their driver’s licenses and photo ID. When federal enforcement starts on May 3, 2023, only REAL ID-compliant documents will be accepted at airports, federal buildings, and for other federal purposes. If someone doesn’t update their driver’s license, they would need to use a passport, for example, to take a domestic flight.

Bus video gives more info about Pittsburgh bridge collapse

Video footage from a bus of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh this year shows one end of the structure had already fallen when an expansion joint at the other end was pulling apart, federal investigators said Thursday.