News

Remembering Bud Shuster

April 28, 2023

This week, the transportation world mourns the passing of former Republican Congressman Bud Shuster, who in three terms as chairman of the House Transportation Committee built a legendary record for directing federal highway funds to his beloved PA 9th Congressional District.

Nicknamed “the King of Asphalt,” he resigned his congressional seat in 2001, a day after being sworn in to his 15th term. He cited party rules that limited members to three two-year terms as committee chairs, as well as family reasons. He was succeeded by his son, Bill, who served until 2019.

According to the New York Times, Bud’s two signature pieces of legislation were the 1998 surface transportation bill, which reserved revenue from gasoline taxes for road and transit projects, and a 2000 bill guaranteeing that money from a tax on airline tickets would be dedicated to aviation.

His constituents benefited from a vast array of transportation infrastructure, up to and including the Bud Shuster Highway, which links State College, Altoona and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In 1991, former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was asked which state had received the biggest share of highway money, to which he responded, “the State of Altoona.”

Among his many honors was being named PHIA’s Advocate of the Year in 1983. PHIA extends sincerest condolences to Bud’s family and friends.

To read his Altoona Mirror obituary, follow this link.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 17

April 24, 2023

‘King of Asphalt’ Bud Shuster dies at age 91

Former Rep. Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania, a congressional power broker whose mastery of earmarked spending and highway projects in the 1990s earned him the sobriquet “King of Asphalt,” died Wednesday at age 91.

Charles Anderson Bridge may now be closed until 2025

An update from the city Tuesday indicates the Charles Anderson Bridge, closed since February, may stay closed into 2025. A post on the rehabilitation project’s page said repairs are “anticipated to take two construction seasons, with the possibility of extending into a third season.”

SEPTA launches on-demand transit

The Philadelphia suburbs will soon have a new transit option thanks to an on-demand service from SEPTA. Riders will be able to request a lift through their phones and see when a driver could arrive. SEPTA says there will be a 30-minute response time from the initial request.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 16

April 17, 2023

This is National Work Zone Awareness Week

PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Pennsylvania State Police and Associated Pennsylvania Constructors hosted an event urging motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones ahead of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Speed detection cameras keeping work zones safer 

That pilot ends this year but Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll is urging the General Assembly to extend it or make it a permanent program.

Developments will increase Route 15 traffic volumes, planner predicts

Traffic volumes on a six-mile stretch of Route 15 north of Allenwood are predicted to eventually exceed what they were before the northern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway opened last July.

Support grows for Shapiro’s idea to free up more road, bridge money

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s call for a five-year phase-out of transfers from the Motor License that help to fund state police operations to free up more funding for transportation projects enjoys broad support from various sectors.

Transportation chairs get input on road and bridge funding

State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., majority chairman of the PA House Transportation Committee, held an informational meeting Tuesday to discuss whether the Motor License Fund should be used in funding the state police. Minority chairman Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin joined Neilson in leading the meeting.

Here’s what PennDOT officials covered during their 12-Year Program forum

Pennsylvania residents could soon see a sharp increase in electric vehicle charging stations along state roads.

Crash deaths up across U.S. with Pa. keeping pace

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 43,000 people died in U.S. traffic crashes in 2021, the highest since 2005, with deaths due to speeding and impaired driving on the rise.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 15

April 10, 2023

How Gov. Shapiro wants to fund PA State Police

In his first budget proposal as governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro aims to resolve a longstanding fiscal conundrum: funding the Pennsylvania State Police without taking money away from bridge and road repairs.

Crash deaths up across U.S. with Pa. keeping pace

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 43,000 people died in U.S. traffic crashes in 2021, the highest since 2005, with deaths due to speeding and impaired driving on the rise.

PennDOT announces new license plates to help grow and sustain plants

PennDOT announced that vehicle owners will now be able to purchase a ‘Pollinator’ license plate. Sixty-five percent of the proceeds from the license plate will be deposited into the Pollinator Habitat Program Fund.

Editorial: Make E-ZPass easier for low-income drivers

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was created under a simple concept: Drivers would pay tolls, and the revenue would be used to pay for operations, construction and maintenance.

Sen. Casey, PennDOT show infrastructure money at work

Federal infrastructure money is helping cover repaving work on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County, which will cost around $23.3 million.

House committee chairs back plan to cease using gas tax dollars for State Police

The majority and minority chairs of the House Transportation Committee say they will introduce legislation to reduce the amount of money siphoned out of the Motor License Fund to pay for state police operations and establish a special designated fund for state police.

Revenue Department releases March collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $244.2 million for the month, $16.8 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 $2.1 billion, which is $70.5 million, or 3.4 percent, above estimate.

Fuel tax rate changes addressed in five statehouses

Fuel tax rates are a trending transportation topic at statehouses from Utah to Pennsylvania. Advocates for trimming fuel tax collection at the state level say the time is right for the move. They cite new federal dollars for transportation purposes, higher fuel costs, and budget surpluses that could cover reductions in fuel tax collections.