PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 13

March 27, 2023

Buttigieg testifies on transportation budget in Senate hearing

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared before the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday to discuss the department’s proposed 2024 budget.

Passenger trains could return to Scranton by 2028

Trains traveling between Scranton to New York City would transport an estimated 470,000 people a year beginning in 2028, according to a two-year study released Wednesday by Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.

Bill would make Turnpike tolls equal for E-ZPass, Toll By Plate

A proposed bill would make Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls the same for drivers with and without E-ZPass. E-ZPass holders currently get a lower rate than Toll By Plate.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 12

March 20, 2023

SEPTA halts work on project connecting KOP, Center City and University City

SEPTA is reversing course on the King of Prussia rail project. The plan was first introduced 10 years ago but now all work is being halted. The transit agency says it all comes down to funding.

A network of rural electric charging stations in PA

For the past several years, DCNR has been at work installing a network of electric vehicle charging stations in state parks and forests — mostly in rural areas. The department currently has 41 Level 2 electric vehicle charging station locations (91 individual plugs) available to the public at 38 state park and forests across the Commonwealth.

Pgh. bridge abruptly shut down for emergency repairs will now close for 3 years

For weeks, drivers have been navigating how to get around the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge after it was abruptly closed for emergency repairs. But now, officials say road closure signs will remain up for the next three years, as those emergency repairs have turned into a complete rehab project.

PennDOT supports passenger rail service from Pa. to NYC, other locations

Passenger rail service in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Poconos is one step closer to happening. PennDOT is throwing its support behind the idea.

Plan would refund 50% of road tolls for Pennsylvanians

Another Turnpike toll increase would be no surprise for Pennsylvanians. After all, tolls have risen 15 years in a row, including 5% annually in recent years. But a 50% toll refund?

PennDOT launches survey about winter services

PennDOT is asking for the public’s feedback on winter services through an online survey.

PA to invest $136M in Route 219

PennDOT has included $136 million in its 12-year transportation plan to fund construction of a section of U.S Route 219 leading to the Maryland border at Grantsville. The funding is another step in creating the north-south, four-lane highway that runs in the Appalachian region of Western Maryland and Pennsylvania. The effort to build the modern connector has been the core project of the Greater Cumberland Committee for several years.

Speed radar legislation advances at PA statehouse

A renewed effort on the move in the Pennsylvania statehouse would permit local police departments to use speed radar. Pennsylvania is the lone state to prohibit municipal police from enforcing speed limits with radar. Since 1961 in the Keystone State, only state troopers have been allowed to use radar.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 11

March 13, 2023

PennDOT, Transportation Commission invite public comments

PennDOT and the State Transportation Commission announced that the 2023 Public Comment Period is open for residents as an opportunity to learn about the organizations’ processes and give concerns and opinions about them.

Editorial: Bill could mean decisions for municipalities

A Pennsylvania Senate bill would see state police get less money from a dedicated pool with a different purpose.

Shapiro proposes $44.4B spending plan in 1st budget address

He also proposed reducing reliance on the Motor License Fund by $100 million per year until $0 in 2027-28 and upgrading Pennsylvania State Police equipment and implementing a standardized replacement cycle.



News of interest from budget address and committee announcements

March 13, 2023

Two events this week were of keen interest to highway builders and transportation advocates across the Commonwealth.

Governor Shapiro delivered his first budget address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The consensus was that there are elements of the $44 billion spending plan that will appeal to a broad swath of the political spectrum. The fiscal year begins July 1, following several weeks of legislative review.

Of interest to the highway industry was the governor’s proposed funding plan, which would gradually remove the current $500 million annual State Police subsidy from the Motor License Fund, reducing it by $100 million per year for five years. This revenue would become available for improving and maintaining bridges and highways, without raising fuel taxes.

A second funding proposal also is in play. The state Senate has approved a measure that would shift $250 million immediately, then $50 million per year for five years, which also would remove the entire State Police subsidy. Enactment would require approval of the House and Governor Shapiro.

The second event of interest was the announcement of the chairs and members of the lower chamber’s Transportation Committee. Rep. Ed Neilson, a Philadelphia Democrat, and Kerry Benninghoff, a Centre County Republican, are the majority and minority chairs, respectively. A listing of the full committee membership can be viewed at this link.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 10

March 6, 2023

Bill would continue to reduce Motor License Fund diversions

The bill, which passed the Senate by a 28-21 vote last week, would drop appropriations from the Motor License Fund by $50 million each year for the state police from $250 million in 2023-24 to no appropriation in 2028-29, when state’s General Fund would entirely cover the state police costs.

Unpaid PA Turnpike tolls are a problem that’s costing you

As drivers pass through on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, not all of them pay up. Millions of dollars in tolls are going unpaid. Recently, new legislation took effect, trying to stop it.

PennDOT commits $470.2 million for municipal roads and bridges

PennDOT announced Friday that it will allocate $470.2 million in liquid fuels payments to certified municipalities to support them in maintaining their roads and bridges.

Larry Shifflet, Tony Williams, others talk infrastructure

City & State’s 2023 Rebuilding PA Summit brought together nearly 100 of Pennsylvania’s brightest minds at the Hilton Harrisburg on Tuesday for a full-day event that examined how state and local leaders, businesses and other power players can band together to solve some of the commonwealth’s most daunting challenges.

Revenue Department releases February collections

The Motor License Fund received $256.7 million for the month, $30.8 million above 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 $1.9 billion, which is $53.7 million, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.