National study shows fatalities are increasing for traveling public

June 30, 2022

TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research organization, released a study this week that chronicles alarming national trends in motorist, bicycle and pedestrian safety. In essence, it documents significant increases in fatalities, even as vehicle travel rates dropped due to the COVID pandemic.

The data show an abrupt reversal in fatality rates, which had been dropping before the pandemic. The data show that U.S. traffic fatalities increased by 19% from 2019 to 2021.

Pennsylvania’s data track with national trends. Traffic fatalities during the same period increased by 17% in Pennsylvania, and fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled increased by 24%, while vehicle miles traveled decreased by 6% per billion.

Nationally, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities also increased significantly. Bicycle fatalities increased by 16%, and pedestrian fatalities by 18%.

Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that the fatality increases were related to increased risks being taken by drivers. These risks include speeding, failure to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

To combat the increase in fatalities, in early 2022 the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap for addressing the nation’s roadway safety crisis based on a “Safe System” approach, which is also being adopted by state and local transportation agencies. For more information, click here.

The TRIP study also said that new funding for improved roadway safety through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide additional resources to address traffic safety.

Click here to view the TRIP report, appendix, infographics and video interview footage with report authors.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 26

June 27, 2022

Thousands walk, bike across CSVT portion, bridge

PennDOT gave people the opportunity to be the first to use the new northern portion and river bridge of the Central Susquehanna Transportation project Saturday

$121M project set to begin at Route 51 interchange in Rostraver

The reconstruction of the Interstate 70 and Route 51 interchange in Rostraver has the distinction of being the highest-dollar-value project ever bid in Penn­DOT’s District 12.

Legislation proposed In Pa. for gas-tax holiday

It’s taken her more than four months, but Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton, has filed legislation to create a two-month sales gas tax holiday in Pennsylvania.

PennDOT, Maryland considering six alignments for final leg of Route 219

The public will get a chance to weigh in Thursday on six possible routes for the final four-lane leg of Route 219 between Ebensburg and Maryland. PennDOT officials are having two meetings about the project in the coming week.

PennDOT preparing for next phase of Mon-Fayette Expressway project

PennDOT is getting ready to begin the next part of the Mon-Fayette Expressway project. The southern part of the project will stretch eight miles from Jefferson Hills to Duquesne and will cost around $800 million.



PHIA News Digest — Vol. 7, No. 25

June 20, 2022

PennDOT warns drivers to slow down during construction season

Work zones can be dangerous, not only for drivers, but especially the workers. State officials say since 1970 PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty.

Pa. plans electric charging stations for interstates

PennDOT will submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Transportation in August about how the agency will build Pennsylvania’s share of a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations. But first, PennDOT wants to hear from Pennsylvanians about how they think the agency should prioritize spending $171.5 million.

Autonomous vehicle bill advances in Pa.

One bill moving through the Pennsylvania House is touted to modernize the state’s vehicle code to allow for the driverless testing and deployment of highly autonomous vehicles.

Opponents have valid concerns on bridge-tolling plan

PennDOT’s P3 initiative is intended as an alternative funding plan to address a backlog of bridges in need of repairs and replacement. The department says Pennsylvania presently has $15 billion in infrastructure needs and a shortfall exceeding $8 billion to address them.

Pennsylvanians urged to review transit options

Officials from PennDOT and Human Services on Monday urged Pennsylvanians to use Find My Ride to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs.

Pa. has billions to spend as budget season begins

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and state lawmakers are launching into their busiest stretch: the horse-trading and budget-making weeks of June that are vastly different this year than any other in memory, with billions of extra dollars to spread around.



APC calls for further reduction in bridge and highway fund diversions

June 16, 2022

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors is reviving an initiative to further reduce the diversions from the Motor License Fund, the constitutionally protected repository for fuel taxes and license and registration fees that fund PennDOT’s bridge and highway program.

The initiative would keep $300 million in the Motor License Fund, instead of using it to subsidize State Police operations. Pennsylvania has approximately $2 billion in unspent federal COVID money and a projected budget surplus of nearly $4.5 billion, which could be tapped to back-fill the State Police budget.

The Commonwealth had been gradually reducing the annual diversions. The diversion this fiscal year has been $673 million. Governor Wolf had proposed to take the diverted amount down to $500 million, and this initiative would take it down to $200 million.

In a letter to members of the General Assembly, APC said the plan would provide additional revenue for PennDOT’s construction program without raising taxes or license and registration fees. Additionally, it would enable Pennsylvania to fund the public-private partnership major bridge initiative without imposing tolls on those bridges.

Finally, it would cover the required state match of nearly $1 billion that is a condition for receiving $5 billion in federal infrastructure funds over the next five years.

The initiative comes as legislators continue work on a new state budget set to go into effect July 1. APC this week launched an outreach program inviting transportation advocates to urge their state legislators to support the initiative. Advocates can identify and contact their legislators through this link.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 24

June 13, 2022

It’s going to be hard finding workers to build infrastructure

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest more than a half trillion dollars in American infrastructure over five years. It’s been estimated that this could create more than 3 million jobs in the construction workforce, bringing hundreds of thousands of new job opportunities every year.

PennDOT to close license, photo centers for Juneteenth

PennDOT has announced that all driver’s license and photo centers, including its Harrisburg full-service center, will be closed Saturday, June 18, through Monday, June 20, for Juneteenth National Freedom Day.

Allowing local police to use radar for speed enforcement has never been closer to becoming law

With that goal in reach that would put Pennsylvania in the company of the 49 other states that already allow this, a coalition of law enforcement and municipal organizations is making a full-court press to bring it to fruition.

Impact of potential suspension of Pa. gas tax

Democratic state Rep. Tony DeLuca, of Allegheny County, proposed legislation in March to suspend the state’s gas tax until the end of this year. The bill is currently sitting before the House Transportation Committee.

GOP lawmakers eviscerate PennDOT’s bridge tolling plan

The Commonwealth Court may have temporarily halted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s plan to toll nine bridges across the state, but a collection of lawmakers, activists and local government officials rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday to call on Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration to pull the plug on the initiative once and for all.

Pa. House panel takes up electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Someday, charging stations for electric vehicles will be as common as roadside gas stations on America’s highways and byways. At least that’s how state Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, envisions a clean and green future for motorists across the commonwealth and nationwide.

Pa. pedestrian deaths up 20%; bigger cars, road design at issue

Pedestrian deaths have crept upward for more than a decade nationally, and Pennsylvania has seen a 21% rise since 2019.

Luzerne Co. drivers switching to scooters to save money

With current gas prices, many are turning to two wheels instead of four.

New payment option for Turnpike drivers

Motorists on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will soon have another option to pay tolls at a number of retail locations. The Turnpike Commission recently announced a partnership with KUBRA Cash Payment Network so that customers can use cash to pay Toll By Plate invoices or add funds to E-ZPass accounts.