PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 9

February 27, 2024

I-95 southbound lanes reopen in Philly after weekend construction

Southbound lanes on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia have reopened Monday morning following another round of road closures as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s $329 million CAP project. I-95 South between I-676 and Morris Street reopened around 1:45 a.m., several hours ahead of schedule, after shutting down on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Federal and Pa. officials turn attention to more truck parking

As federal transportation officials mark the second anniversary of their plan to reduce deaths and serious injuries in crashes on U.S. highways, increased attention is being focused on a long-standing safety problem: A lack of places for truckers to park their rigs after a long day on the road.

Turnpike’s $200M Northeast Extension project nears milestone

The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s estimated $200 million project to widen the Northeast Extension as far north as the Quakertown interchange is nearing a milestone.

Montco’s Kenneth Lawrence to chair SEPTA’s board

The board for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, announced Thursday that Kenneth E. Lawrence has been unanimously elected to serve as the chair. Lawrence will be the first African-American to advance to the position.

SEPTA regional rail service could expand this fall

SEPTA officials are considering the best ways to add more service to the regional rail lines. The discussions are preliminary and depend on funding from outside sources.

Work moving forward on Johnstown’s second daily Amtrak round trip

A plan to bring a second Amtrak passenger train on a daily round trip through Johnstown is now fully funded — and efforts are underway to get necessary track upgrades under construction, state Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr. said.

LANTA buses to be fueled by natural gas from landfills

In a first of its kind partnership in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority and UGI Energy Services Inc. announced a plan to use renewable natural gas (RNG) to power more than 80 buses in LANTA’s fleet.

SEPTA awarded $317M for Market-Frankford Line makeover

The grant from the Biden administration will allow SEPTA to replace 200 railcars along the Market-Frankford Line, also referred to as the “EL.” Officials said SEPTA is in dire need of upgrades, adding that the aging railcars are on average 25 years old and need to be replaced.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 8

February 20, 2024

Truck parking is focus of legislation in multiple statehouses

Available truck parking continues to be an issue nationally. New data, however, suggests significant improvement when it comes to truck parking availability nationwide.

Many entities failed before the Fern Hollow Bridge did

A nearly two-year federal investigation into the 2022 collapse of Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh found problems with every entity involved, from the city’s maintenance and the state’s oversight of the bridge to the private inspectors who were hired to keep tabs on its condition before the deteriorating southwest leg buckled, bringing the rest of the bridge down on a cold January morning.

Hearing set to reveal cause of Fern Hollow Bridge collapse

A virtual hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board on the Jan. 28, 2022 collapse is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to include a presentation by investigators, feature an animation of the bridge failure and provide better understanding of what went wrong over the years for the long-troubled span.

Three Pa. airports to get share of $1 billion in federal airport terminal funding

Three Pennsylvania airports will be among those receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airport Terminal Program, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 7

February 12, 2024

I-95 closure dates announced for the southbound lanes of the highway in Philly

All lanes of I-95 southbound will be shut down between 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 and 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. between Exit 22 (I-676/Callowhill St.) and the Morris Street on-ramp.

Status of using highway shoulders as additional lanes on Blue Route and Schuylkill Expressway

Using the shoulders to alleviate congestion is still in the works, however, drivers won’t see tangible changes for a couple of years, said PennDOT spokesperson Brad Rudolph.

Budget expected to move more state police funding away from gas tax

One of the linchpins of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s public safety plan in the 2024-25 budget proposal is a continued shift away from funding the Pennsylvania State Police out of the state’s motor license fund, which draws primarily from gas tax revenue.

State Rep. Joe McAndrew to chair of Public Transportation subcommittee

State Rep. Joe McAndrew was appointed chair of the House subcommittee on Public Transportation, his office announced Friday.

Impending crisis with public transit puts Lehigh Valley economy, workforce at risk

Transit connects workers to jobs and students to classes. Transit assists seniors in accessing medical services and opportunities for socialization, both of which are vital for their health. And practically speaking, transit lessens congestion on our crowded roadways and spurs economic growth.

In a united front, state reps highlight new Pa. budget priorities

With major increases in funding for education and SEPTA, without any tax hikes, members of the Philadelphia House delegation laid out the major aspirations of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

$40 million federal grant paves road for Pittsburgh to acquire electric buses

Bella Patton was among a group of schoolchildren Thursday on the South Side who toured the new type of bus that will soon join the fleet of vehicles serving Pittsburgh Public Schools students.

Philly Dems: SEPTA boost just one highlight for city in Shapiro budget proposal

Funding for SEPTA represents a sizable chunk of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget for transit spending in Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia lawmakers say it’s not the only way the budget would benefit the region.

PennDOT begins $73 million Parkway East project in Churchill

Work will begin overnight Wednesday on the first major road project of the construction season: a $73 million upgrade of the Parkway East between Churchill and Monroeville.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 6

February 5, 2024

I-95 northbound lanes in Philly reopened Monday; southbound closure to be scheduled

State officials say northbound lanes of I-95 closed over the weekend to allow work on construction of a park near Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia have reopened, but they warn that closure of southbound lanes will be needed in coming weeks.

Drivers keep passing stopped school buses, despite use of cameras to catch them

Drivers nationwide continue to barrel illegally past stopped school buses, endangering children and caregivers— and sometimes worse. But some states have found it hard to enforce relatively new laws allowing on-board bus camera systems that record the violations.

Transportation Sec. Buttigieg talks rail safety improvements

It’s been exactly one year since a freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing fiery plumes of toxic chemicals. While there were no casualties, the incident put a big spotlight on freight, rail safety and how the government can better protect against accidents like this.

Biden to visit E. Palestine to mark derailment anniversary

President Joe Biden will visit East Palestine, Ohio to meet with residents affected by the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train last year. Details of the president’s visit were not yet available, just that he would visit this month.

Revenue Department releases January collections

The Motor License Fund received $245.4 million for the month, $5.6 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 $1.8 billion, which is $11.0 million, or 0.6 percent, above estimate.

Philadelphia traffic ranked 8th-worst in U.S. in national study

Philadelphia’s traffic was ranked eighth-worst in the United States in a new study, using data from 2023. New York fared the worst in the index, with TomTom reporting drivers needing an average of 24 minutes and 50 seconds to travel just 10 kilometers.

Crash tests indicate nation’s guardrail system can’t handle heavy EVs

Electric vehicles that typically weigh more than gasoline-powered cars can easily crash through steel highway guardrails that are not designed to withstand the extra force, raising concerns about the nation’s roadside safety system, according to crash test data released Wednesday by the University of Nebraska.