PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 5

January 31, 2023

Editorial: The ticking clocks of Pa. poor bridges

For the people on the Fern Hollow Bridge on Jan. 28, 2022, the unthinkable happened in a heartbeat.

Philadelphia among worst traffic cities in nation

Philadelphia ranked in the top five among the worst traffic cities in the United States, according to the Global Traffic Scorecard recently published by INRIX, a data and analytics firm that specializes in transportation.

Roosevelt Boulevard SEPTA line not feasible with current funding

A proposed route along Roosevelt Boulevard, the idea for which was first floated more than a century ago, isn’t currently financially feasible, said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie Richards.

Efforts to bring passenger rail back to NEPA keep chugging along

Northeastern Pennsylvania residents and officials are trying to be the Little Community That Could in bringing passenger rail back to the region.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 4

January 23, 2023

Allegheny Tunnel bypass plans advance

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving forward with a controversial project to construct 3.8 miles of roadway, cutting through the mountaintop, to eliminate the highway’s Allegheny Tunnel.

PennDOT to unveil plan to widen section of I-81

PennDOT is taking the next step in a project to widen the busiest stretch of Interstate 81 in part of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. The state will unveil its preliminary plans to widen I-81 between the Avoca exit (178) to the Biden Expressway (185) at a meeting next month.

$1.3B expansion of Mon-Fayette Expressway to begin soon

A $1.3 billion expansion project of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Mon-Fayette Expressway between Route 51 and Interstate 376 is expected to get underway soon, according to the Turnpike Commission.

First Active Erie bikeways will be along Greengarden, French Street

The bikeways will be the first of 12 recommended in the Active Erie Transportation Plan approved by Erie City Council in February 2021. The plan proposes safe pathways for cyclists and pedestrians, generally along streets with lower traffic volume and lower speed limits than main thoroughfares.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 3

January 16, 2023

Shapiro nominates Carroll to lead PennDOT

Governor-elect Josh Shapiro Thursday announced four key cabinet appointments, including former state representative Mike Carroll of Avoca as the next Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation.

PennDOT reviewing bill to halt gas-tax increase

A spokeswoman for PennDOT said her agency is reviewing legislation passed Wednesday in the state Senate that would stop the automatic gasoline tax increase taking effect this month, and permanently set the average wholesale price at $2.99 per gallon in a bid to end future tax hikes.

Two men charged in scheme to defraud PA Turnpike of a million dollars in tolls

Two men have been charged with a scheme to defraud the Pennsylvania Turnpike out of millions of dollars in tolls, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Lower public transit use in Pa. poses long-term budget problems

Though public transit ridership has significantly fallen since the pandemic, transportation assistance programs in Pennsylvania have seen a boost. That’s why the PennDOT recently drew attention to the growing source of ridership available to qualifying residents.

​More than 12,500 Pennsylvanians connected to transportation assistance programs

The Pennsylvania departments of Transportation and Human Services urged Pennsylvanians to use Find My Ride to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs. More than 12,500 Pennsylvanians have been approved for services since FMR launched in May 2021.

Bills to end gas tax hike, cap highway funding transfers pass through Pa. Senate committee

Pennsylvania’s Senate Transportation Committee advanced two bills on Monday that separately propose to end this year’s state gas tax increase and to cap the amount of money transferred annually to the state police from a dedicated fund for road repairs.

 

News

PennDOT secretary-nominee somehow seems familiar

January 13, 2023

Once he’s confirmed by the PA Senate, Josh Shapiro’s nominee to serve as PennDOT secretary won’t need to ask anyone for directions to PennDOT’s headquarters, or the governor’s office, or the Capitol complex hearing rooms and legislative offices, or where to grab a quick sandwich or salad for lunch.

Secretary-designee Mike Carroll will surely feel right at home in Harrisburg, where he has spent the vast majority of his career – a career that has been chock-full of transportation policy issues even before his 16-year stint as a legislator, capped off last year as Democratic chair of the House Transportation Committee.

His decision not to seek reelection saddened his cohorts on the committee, who knew him as a consensus-builder with a vast reservoir of institutional knowledge, but everyone eventually needs to try new things.

And now we know what his “new thing” will be. Having seen transportation policy through the lens of a congressional, gubernatorial and legislative staff member, and a state representative serving constituents in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties, his next chapter would keep him in Harrisburg, riding herd over one of the nation’s largest state departments of transportation.

The transportation industry welcomed the news of Mike’s nomination. APC’s Bob Latham said:

“We would be hard-pressed to name anyone more capable to lead PennDOT than Mike Carroll. His knowledge and experience with transportation issues began early in his career and continued through his years in the General Assembly. We are facing enormous challenges in funding and maintaining Pennsylvania’s 40,000 miles of state highways. The industry looks forward to continued partnership with PennDOT under Mike Carroll’s leadership.”

PHIA and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition also add their congratulations and well wishes. We anticipate a pivotal year in advancing transportation funding solutions and look forward to a fruitful 2023.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 2

January 9, 2023

Sen. Langerholc reappointed as chairman of Senate Transportation

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) has reappointed Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) to lead the Senate Transportation Committee for the 2023-24 legislative session.

Sen. Flynn reappointed Democratic chair of Senate Transportation

Senator Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne) announced his reappointment as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Gov. Wolf announces grants for automated red light enforcement

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced that PennDOT will distribute approximately $15 million in Automated Red-Light Enforcement funding to 32 municipalities statewide.

Construction cleared due to Bayfront Parkway federal lawsuit dismissal

A federal judge has removed the legal roadblock to the $100 million project to improve the Bayfront Parkway, keeping on track an updated construction timetable that calls for work to start in the spring.

Pa. House bill would hit electric, plug-in hybrid drivers with mileage fees

A central Pennsylvania lawmaker has floated a plan that he says will help bridge the gap by authorizing a five-year pilot program that would levy mileage-based user fees on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.