PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 48

November 30, 2022

How the interstate highways transformed America

Like seams on a quilt, they run across the country, with every mile serving as a stitch in the needlework. As interstate highways sew together pieces of geography, they help connect cultures and economies scattered from sea to shining sea.

The Roosevelt Blvd. subway is back on the table

The momentum to finally build the Roosevelt Boulevard subway continues as residents from Northeast Philadelphia and across the city met once again in October for a second community workshop.

EDITORIAL: Pedal forward with bill for bike safety

According to PennDOT, 24 bicyclists were killed in Pennsylvania crashes in 2021 and another 754 were injured. Almost all of the crashes involved cars or trucks, and a majority occurred at intersections.

Bellefonte Boro council gives update on wall collapse

According to Bellefonte Borough Council, PennDOT has indicated it’s currently reviewing repair options for the bridge. The repair work is estimated to take two months to complete once started. PennDOT officials are currently surveying the grounds.

PennDOT offers tips to secure mailboxes

​With the winter season’s arrival in the northwest region, PennDOT is reminding residents of steps they can take to secure their mailboxes and properly maintain driveway entry points.

 

News

Election results are finally clear

November 21, 2022

It took nearly two weeks from the General Election to sort out the victors from the vanquished, but we finally appear to have a clearer picture of Pennsylvania’s political landscape moving forward.

As we now know, the U.S. Senate will be controlled by Democrats, and the PA Senate will be controlled by Republicans.

The GOP assumed control of the U.S. House, but with a very thin majority. Democrats will eventually assume control of the PA House, but with an even tinier one-seat majority. What isn’t clear is when the House Dems will be at full strength, and what will happen in the meantime.

One of the 102 Democratic seats is vacant due to the death of state Rep. Tony DeLuca, who passed away a month ago. It was too late to replace him on the ballot, and he won the election. Moreover, two other PA House Democrats, Summer Lee and Austin Davis, were elected to Congress and PA lieutenant governor, respectively, and will vacate their PA House seats upon being sworn in to their new posts in January.

At this moment, the House is deadlocked at 101-101, and the departure of Lee and Davis will make it a 101-99 GOP majority until the three House seats are filled in special elections (all three districts are thought to be solidly Democratic).

The situation could result in a cascade of delays, including selection of speaker of the House, appointment of committee chairs and the composition of legislative committees.

On a transportation note: While committee chair selections and committee assignments will eventually occur, we will bid adieu to both of our current House Transportation chairs. Longtime legislator and GOP Chair Tim Hennessey lost his reelection bid after his district was redrawn, and Democratic Chair Mike Carroll announced months ago that he would not seek reelection. We wish them well in their future endeavors.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 47

November 21, 2022

Pa. started 1,078 transportation projects in year-one of infrastructure law

Pennsylvania leveraged $2.4 billion in federal highway and bridge formula funds in FY 2022 to help jumpstart 1,078 new improvement projects in communities across the state during the first year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a review of U.S. Treasury Department data through September 30 shows.

Md. officials announce U.S. 219 funding in Garrett County

As part of a four-day scheduled visit to the western part of the state, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stopped in Grantsville on Oct. 17 to announce $77 million in funding that will complete the remaining 8-mi. segment of U.S. 219 between I-68 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which includes 1 mi. in Maryland.

Infrastructure law has been ‘game changer’ for Gov. Wolf

A year after President Biden signed a bill sending $1 trillion to states and municipalities to fix the nation’s ailing infrastructure, Gov. Tom Wolf says the law will be a “game changer for Pennsylvania,” as money continues to flow toward projects in Pennsylvania.

Pa. infrastructure sees slight improvement since 2018

So how is it holding up in Pennsylvania? Well in the last four years since the American Society of Civil Engineers released its infrastructure report, the grade has stayed the same: C-minus.

What has the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law done for Pa?

According to a Nov. release from the White House, $7.9 billion in infrastructure funding has been announced for Pennsylvania and already has been allocated for over 150 specified projects across the commonwealth.

Will act of ‘spite’ by Pa. House GOP cost the state hundreds of millions in federal funding?

Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 4-1 on Thursday to approve tighter emission standards for the conventional oil and gas industry, but a House committee vote will delay the state’s implementation of the regulation and cause the state to miss a deadline set by the federal government.

Cameras in this Pa. transit system will soon be able to tell if you have a gun

SEPTA will start using an artificial intelligence system that detects firearms. A pilot program from ZeroEyes has been approved. The U.S. Department of Defense uses the company’s program, according to Philly Voice.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 46

November 14, 2022

Pennsylvania orders a review of EV charging rates

Anticipating a future wave of EV ownership, the Pennsylvania PUC launched a streamlining process to potentially rewrite electric rates in the state to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles rule signed into Pa. law

A new Pennsylvania law is touted as modernizing the state’s vehicle code to accommodate autonomous vehicles. Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill to permit the driverless testing and deployment of autonomous cars and trucks on Pennsylvania roadways.

Amid major federal investment in electric cars, it’s time for states to step up, advocates say

For years, electric vehicles posed something of a chicken-and-egg problem. Mass adoption, seen as critical to cutting the largest single source of U.S. carbon emissions, couldn’t happen until the infrastructure to allow drivers to recharge wherever they were heading was in place. And those charging stations weren’t coming until more drivers switched to plug-in electric vehicles.

Toll scofflaw legislation is easy, but hard work is needed on other PennDOT, turnpike problems

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new law last week giving the state a stick to smack or prod drivers owing delinquent toll money.

State law aligns gross weight for EV commercial vehicles

Act 145 of 2022, which Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law, increases the maximum allowable gross weight for electric-powered commercial vehicles from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 7, No. 45

November 7, 2022

Governor signs E-ZPass transparency legislation

The new law is called a “win” for Turnpike customers and government transparency. It requires the Turnpike to notify E-ZPass customers when they get a $10 penalty fee called a v-toll, charged when their transponder fails to register going through a toll plaza.

Wolf signs bill allowing commercial electric vehicles on state roads

Heavy-duty commercial vehicles powered by electric motors will now be able to travel Pennsylvania’s roads alongside their diesel- and natural gas-powered counterparts.

Wolf signs law to suspend vehicle registrations over unpaid Turnpike tolls

A measure to help the Pennsylvania Turnpike recover more unpaid tolls was signed into law Thursday, legislation that could trigger the suspension of thousands of vehicle registrations early next year.

Revenue Department releases October collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $217.6 million for the month, $0.7 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $951.1 million, which is $8.9 million, or 0.9 percent, above estimate.