Featured, News

In Memoriam: Robert, “Bob”, Hetherington – Past PHIA Director

August 29, 2023

We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague, Bob Hetherington, who died on Saturday evening, August 26, at his home in Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg. He was 95.

It would not be enough to say that Bob had a productive and successful career. He had several of them – newsman, soldier, combat correspondent, public relations practitioner, government agency spokesman and, last but not least, managing director of the PA Highway Information Association, from which he retired in 1993.

He received accolades at every turn, particularly as his career steered him toward transportation issues. He was active in several charitable endeavors, and with his late wife, Terry, raised a family of four.

For information about services and more details of his life, please read his beautifully written obituary.

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 34

August 28, 2023

Better road to pay for state police

Debates over unresolved elements of the state government’s new $44.45 billion budget – including more than $600 million for four state-affiliated universities’ in-state tuition discounts; $100 million in “Level Up” funding for poor school districts; and more – have obscured significant progress ensured by the completed parts of the budget.

Turnpike commission announces location of Route 130 interchange

A turnpike interchange will be installed near the intersection of Nike Site Road, Sandy Hill Road, Pleasant Valley Road and Route 130 in Penn Township, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced.

PA invests nearly $50 million for 58 transportation projects

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that his administration will fund 58 highway, bridge, aviation, ports and bike and pedestrian projects in 37 counties using $49.6 million in funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides grant funding to ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to all Pennsylvanians.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 33

August 21, 2023

How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact Pa.

In today’s polarized political climate, few issues in Washington receive bipartisan support. Investment in the nation’s infrastructure, however, is a notable exception – and with good reason.

Plan to stop diverting road dollars state police could be final piece of Pa. budget

For at least 50 years, Pennsylvania has used taxes drivers pay at the pump to fund its State Police force. But lawmakers are hopeful that the main budget bill passed by the divided Pennsylvania General Assembly and recently signed by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is the first step to ending those transfers, which have diverted $8 billion from road and bridge construction in the past decade alone.

Steam locomotive from Franklin Institute to be displayed at Pa. Railroad Museum

A steam locomotive that has been on display at the Franklin Institute for the last 90 years was recently removed and will be relocated to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

City, SEPTA and PennDOT cut ribbon on red bus-only lane

City officials joined SEPTA and PennDOT for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the newly painted red bus-only lane on Market Street between 20th and 15th streets.

PennDOT accepting grant applications for freight-rail infrastructure projects

PennDOT has opened the application period for grants under the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP).

How a central Pa. company became a major force in the traffic-control industry

When Mike Doner first heard the word “flagger” in the 1980s he didn’t know what it meant.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 8, No. 32

August 15, 2023

PennDOT announces federal funding for EV projects

According to officials, 54 projects in 35 Pennsylvania counties have been selected to either expand or help the reliability of electric vehicle (EV) charging within the state. This $33.8 million federal investment is part of the $171.5 million PennDOT will receive and distribute over five years.

Government can’t be agile? Don’t tell Pa’s. bridge-fixers.

When a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline exploded underneath an Interstate 95 overpass in Philadelphia in June, the blaze literally melted some of the bridge’s steel, collapsing the structure and shutting down traffic on one of the nation’s busiest highways. State officials initially predicted that the roadway would be closed for five months, raising the prospect of epic backups on local streets and long detours for commercial traffic.

SEPTA to invest in clean buses

SEPTA will use approximately $23 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve bus stops and purchase 10 fuel cell electric buses. The result will be less air and noise pollution from public transportation, two issues that disproportionately affect communities of color.

 

News

Update on PennDOT and Turnpike mid-year lettings

August 4, 2023

Having crossed the halfway point of the calendar year, we wanted to provide a highway construction update. Typically, we focus on PennDOT lettings, but we thought this time we would include Turnpike projects as well.

As of June 30, PennDOT lettings totaled just over $1.6 billion, so it appears that PennDOT is well on its way to meet a projected $2.7 billion in lettings. But in addition to that, the Turnpike is expecting to spend a bit more than $903 million.

We have included a chart (click here to view) that tracks PennDOT and Turnpike lettings since 2014, the first full calendar year after passage of Act. 89. The best year since Act 89 was 2022, when PennDOT let more than $2.9 billion and the Turnpike let more than $1.3 billion.

We anticipate that even better years are ahead as the State Police subsidy from the Motor License Fund is phased out, and federal infrastructure funds are received.

We will keep you apprised as we move into the second half mark.