PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 24

June 10, 2024 by · Leave a Comment
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Pa. residents will need a REAL ID to board an airplane starting May 2025

Pennsylvania residents who want to board an airplane for a domestic flight will soon need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. If their driver’s license is not REAL ID-compliant, they will need another form of approved identification, such as a passport to board their flight or enter a secure federal facility or military base. The REAL ID driver’s license and identification card have a small star in the upper right corner to indicate they meet federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.

PennDOT awards bid for $259M high-speed interchange in Centre County

PennDOT has awarded the construction bid for the long-awaited high-speed interchange between Interstates 80 and 99 in Centre County. Trumbull Corporation of Pittsburgh was the apparent low bidder at $259 million, according to a PennDOT news release on Friday. PennDOT expects to issue notice to proceed in July and work will occur over the next six construction seasons, ending in 2030.

Gov. Shapiro signs bill banning handheld cellphone use while driving

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed into law a strict ban on the use of handheld cellphones while driving. The law, which goes into effect next year, will also require the Pennsylvania State Police and other large police departments, to collect and report data on traffic stops, such as a driver’s race, a priority of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

Senate committee votes to allow PennDOT motorcycle inspections year-round

While winter may not be the best time to ride a motorcycle, the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee has agreed that the state should allow motorcycle inspections to be conducted during those colder months.

Pgh. International Airport to receive upgrades from Biden’s infrastructure law

Pittsburgh International Airport is set to receive $20.5 million in funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reconstruct the terminal building and allow passengers to move more freely through it.

Deluzio appointed to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) has been appointed to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the remainder of the current session of Congress. Deluzio thanked House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for selecting him to serve on the committee, which had a vacancy following the death of New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne in April.

Revenue Department releases May collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $311.3 million for the month, $2.0 million below 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 $2.9 billion, which is $6.1 million, or 0.2 percent, above estimate.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg discusses Pa. infrastructure at WGAL

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stopped by WGAL studios Wednesday morning for an interview with WGAL News 8 Today anchors Matt Barcaro and Katelyn Smith. They discussed infrastructure in Pennsylvania, projects here in the Susquehanna Valley, and money being spent.


The I-95 restoration: A Pennsylvania success story

June 4, 2024 by · Leave a Comment
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Exactly one day before the beginning of the 2024 Memorial Day weekend, state and national transportation leaders held an event to announce the full restoration of I-95 in northeast Philadelphia, the site of a devastating fuel tanker accident last June.

In announcing the reopening of the eight-lane highway, PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, along with Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, joined other dignitaries praising the workers and collaboration that led to the super-fast-tracked reconstruction of one of the busiest transportation arteries in the northeast United States.

The fiery crash claimed the life of the tanker driver when his rig tipped on Sunday morning, June 11, of last year and exploded beneath an overpass.

The highway was instantly deemed impassable. Secretary Carroll and Governor Shapiro immediately grasped the magnitude of the disaster, knowing that the crash would create traffic nightmares and potentially threaten commerce from Maine to Florida.

President Biden toured the accident site by helicopter and said that “there’s no more important project right now in the country as far as I’m concerned.” He pledged to reimburse Pennsylvania for 100% of the initial cost and 90% for the rest.

Then the designers, engineering team, construction companies and the Philadelphia Building Trades got busy. After initially predicting a months-long closing of the highway, the aforementioned problem-solvers said they might be able to create a temporary solution.

Twelve days later, the road was back in business. Traffic resumed, interstate traffic was shifted back to I-95, and economic consequences were eased.

Now, less than a year later, the permanent repairs are in place. For a look back on the nearly year-long restoration effort, follow this link.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 23

June 4, 2024 by · Leave a Comment
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Upgrades made to Pa. statewide travel information service

Upgrades have been made to Pennsylvania’s free, statewide travel information service. PennDOT and the PA Turnpike Commission announced that 511PA has been upgraded with a new website, mobile app, and phone system.

Funds for clean school buses coming to hundreds of districts, White House says

Twenty-one Pennsylvania school districts will receive $55.7 million in funding from the program.

Work zone speed cameras out in full force

These mobile camera and radar systems mounted on vehicles that are parked in work zones were part of a five-year pilot project that recently became state law, and the numbers prove it has helped make work zones safer.

Shapiro administration invests nearly $10 million to improve 10 Pa. airports

PennDOT has announced a nearly $10 million state investment in projects at 10 public-use airports for facility improvements, infrastructure preservation, and development. Supporting safe, reliable infrastructure while growing the Commonwealth’s economy is a key priority for the Shapiro administration.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 22

May 28, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 22
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I-95 in northeast Philly reopened ahead of Memorial Day

Just in time for the Memorial Day rush, Philly drivers are getting a break. Officials marked the “full restoration” of Interstate 95 in Northeast Philadelphia Thursday, a swift finish to a construction saga that started with a fiery disaster nearly a year ago.

Remembering the I-95 bridge collapse, and all the memes

On Thursday, PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, and other officials held a ceremony to mark the project’s completion.

PennDOT’s move ensures reliability and readiness

Fueling Pennsylvania’s transition towards cleaner, safer, and more affordable transportation, PennDOT has revealed its Electric Vehicle Charger Reliability and Accessibility Accelerator program. This initiative will pivot around enhancing existing electric vehicle charging stations, making them not just operational, but also more reliable.

California ban on gas-powered vehicles will hit PA driveways

What happens in California doesn’t stay in California — and that’s particularly true when it comes to your car. Or truck. Or even train.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 21

May 20, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 21
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PennDOT invites applicants to the Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

PennDOT announced that the department is accepting letters of interest and resumes for voluntary positions on the Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PPAC). PPAC advises and comments on all aspects of cycling and pedestrian program activities being undertaken or financially assisted by PennDOT and other agencies of state government. Applications are reviewed by PennDOT and ultimately subject to approval by the governor. Applications will be accepted until June 6.

Ride of silence held in Harrisburg to recognize bicyclists injured and killed in 2023

A ride of silence took place on Wednesday night in Harrisburg to recognize bicyclists injured and killed in crashes in 2023. Cyclists participated in a 2.5-mile ride that ended at the steps of the state Capitol.

REAL ID uptake only 21%; PennDOT halves answering time on calls

PennDOT is noticing more Real IDs issued in the commonwealth — but expects only a quarter of residents to have them by the federal deadline in 2025.

Va. has highest interstate road tolls

Virginia’s maximum fee on interstate toll roads averages $3.27 a mile — significantly higher than any of the other 23 states analyzed. In fact, it’s 89.0% higher than in Pennsylvania, which has an average maximum fee of $1.73 a mile on interstate toll roads. Maine ($1.56) rounds out the top three. Conversely, Utah has the lowest maximum fee (averaging $0.03 a mile), followed by Massachusetts ($0.07) and Indiana ($0.08).


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 20

May 13, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 20
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MI budget calls for pilot study of “mileage tax” for road funding

Debate continues in Lansing on how to raise money for roads as more people buy electric vehicles. One idea is what critics call a “mileage tax” on every mile you drive, or at least a voluntary pilot program to study it.

Real ID conversion has 2025 deadline; what you need to do before next May

The federally mandated change goes into effect on May 7, 2025, after being delayed in 2022. Originally, everyone with licenses or identification cards had to “meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act” by May 3, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security said. But the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the federal agency, prevented some people from getting the new identification cards after backlogs piled up during the shutdown.

Bill prohibiting cellphone use while driving goes to governor

A bill that would make it illegal for people to use a cellphone while driving in Pennsylvania is now headed to the governor’s desk for his signature after it passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

Pedestrian deaths drop 10%, but still above pre-pandemic level

Early data are showing that America’s streets are getting safer for pedestrians, though deaths are still higher than pre-pandemic. Pennsylvania is doing better than most states, but hasn’t bucked the general trend.

Pa. Turnpike to expand capital spending to record level for new year

Over the next year, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is expected to have its busiest and most expensive construction schedule ever.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 19

May 7, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 19
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State reps. want to study local fee for State Police services

State Reps. Tim Brennan, D-Doylestown, and Michael Sturla, D-Lancaster, are circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum for legislation that will study a fee on municipalities that don’t have their own police force.

Md. officials release timeline, cost estimate for rebuilding bridge

The state plans to build a new span by fall of 2028, said David Broughton, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Transportation. He said the cost estimate is preliminary, and detailed engineering specifics have not been confirmed.

Revenue Department releases April collections

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $270.0 million for the month, $22.4 million below 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 $2.5 billion, which is $8.1 million, or 0.3 percent, above estimate.

Pa. delegation’s plea for federal aid in infrastructure overhaul

A united front of 18 members from Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), drafted a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The group urged critical federal funding to replace the Interstate 83 John Harris Memorial Bridge, or the I-83 South Bridge.

Meet Mason Jones, “The Guardrail Kid,” helping PennDOT scout dangerous guardrails

Mason Jones is known as “The Guardrail Kid” on TikTok to his 19,000 followers but he’s also known to road safety advocates, guardrail industry heads, and managers with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PA Turnpike emphasizes year-round safety as Distracted Driving Month ends

Even though April 30 marks the end of National Distracted Driving Month, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wants to remind drivers that safe driving is a year-round event.

Pa.’s Aurora Innovation to debut self-driving trucks onto U.S. roadways

On a three-lane test track along the Monongahela River, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rounded a curve. No one was on board. A quarter-mile ahead, the truck’s sensors spotted a trash can blocking one lane and a tire in another. In less than a second, it signaled, moved into the unobstructed lane and rumbled past the obstacles.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 18

April 29, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 18
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Advocates team up to fight Turnpike’s plan to cut ‘permanent scar’ through Allegheny Mountain

Atop the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountain ridge, Randy Musser was surrounded by nature – and faced the unsettling thought that it could be disrupted forever.

PennDOT announces EV funding details

PennDOT announced program details for Round 1B of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding opportunity. The proposal period will open on May 13, and close on July 10 at 5:00 PM EDT.

PennDOT suspends I-83 construction project in wake of work-zone fatalities

Officials with PennDOT say the construction project on Interstate 83 in York County has been suspended due to last week’s fatal crash that claimed the lives of three local men.


PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 17

April 22, 2024 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 9, No. 17
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Economic fallout from Baltimore’s bridge collapse hits home

Maryland legislators are taking steps to protect workers and businesses affected by the port and highway closure. There are broader, indirect effects, however, that are creating additional uncertainty.

Pa. crash statistics for 2022

There were 115,938 traffic crashes in the Commonwealth in 2022, the most recent year for which crash data are available. Those crashes claimed the lives of 1,179 people and injured 67,012 others.

PennDOT and lawmakers share plans for I-80/I-99 high-speed interchange project in Bellefonte

PennDOT and local lawmakers are highlighting the start of construction season in Pennsylvania, including a long-awaited project that will connect two interstates in Bellefonte. This is the third and final phase of a project that was announced in 2018.

SEPTA serious crimes down 45%, mirroring national trend

Philadelphia residents have had to suffer more criminal activity in recent years, but the tide may be turning. Though some violent crime rates are still higher than before the pandemic, public transit is getting safer.


Condolences to family and friends of highway workers who died in work zone accident

April 19, 2024 by · Comments Off on Condolences to family and friends of highway workers who died in work zone accident
Filed under: Featured, News 

PHIA and its members extend deepest condolences to the families and friends of the three highway workers who were killed in a work zone accident on I-83 between York and Harrisburg early Wednesday morning. The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the accident.

The workers were employees of CriLon Corp., of Somerset. They were identified as Jesse McKenzie, 24, of Somerset; Robert Hampe, 42, of Meyersdale; and Philson Hinebaugh III, 24, of Johnstown.

We urge drivers to remember to make safe choices behind the wheel as we begin another construction season.


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