Turnpike boosts construction budget as traffic volume improves

May 11, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is resuming its quest to expand the toll road to at least three lanes in both directions, adding nearly $200 million to its construction budget for a total of $660 million for the coming fiscal year.

Turnpike officials report that traffic volumes are recovering after dropping significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. Commercial truck traffic, in particular, is returning, bringing with it more toll revenue.

Turnpike CEO Mark Compton described commercial traffic as “all the way back.” More than 150 of the 550 miles of toll roads across the state have been reconstructed, with another 16 miles currently under construction and 88 miles in design.

For a Post-Gazette article on the subject, click this link.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 19

May 10, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: PHIA NEWS DIGEST 

Report: free ride soon over for PA electric vehicle owners

Pennsylvania could get rid of the gas tax, but drivers would still pay to hit the road.  The commonwealth is joined by 16 other states as members of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, formerly known as the I-95 Corridor Coalition, a group looking at replacing the gas tax with a mileage fee.

New study shows EV expansion could significantly reduce pollution

Transportation made up 24% of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania in 2017. Most of those were produced by light-duty vehicles such as cars, vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Continuing the same usage trends may make it difficult for Pennsylvania to reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals by 2050, but a new study shows that joining a zero-emissions vehicle program could help the state meet its climate goals.

Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg drops by Pittsburgh

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was in Pittsburgh Thursday, touring our bridges as part of the Biden administration’s work to gain support for the American Jobs Plan.

Radar would better protect citizens

As the Logan Township chief of police, I testified four times before the Pennsylvania Transportation Committees regarding the use of radar by local police departments that would help protect our citizens.

Pa. joins 16 other states considering mileage fee to replace gas tax

The commonwealth is joined by 16 other states as members of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, formerly known as the I-95 Corridor Coalition, a group looking at replacing the gas tax with a mileage fee.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 18

May 3, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 18
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Mask mandate for air travel, public transportation extended through Sept. 13

Travelers will be required to wear face masks inside airports and on planes, buses and trains through Sept. 13.

Harrisburg to New York City in 24 minutes? Hyperloop advocates say it’s possible

It’s faster than the fastest train. The technology is more similar to the vacuum tube that takes a check from alongside a car to a teller at a bank drive-through window. But will hyperloop, as it’s known, ever really transport people?

State panel explores alternatives to bridge tolls and gas taxes

The commission, set to issue a report in August, is studying other ways to even a gap of $9 billion between what Pennsylvania takes in and what it needs to fix roads and bridges.

PennDOT shares draft transportation funding study

PennDOT is hosting an on-demand virtual public meeting and comment period for a Planning and Environmental Linkages study exploring sustainable transportation funding options. The public meeting is accessible online at all hours of the day through June 1, 2021, at www.penndot.gov/funding.

Pennsylvania releases automated vehicles survey

PennDOT recently launched a survey on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee. Results will be used to gain an understanding of residents’ thoughts on automated vehicles.

REAL ID enforcement deadline pushed back to 2023

The Department of Homeland Security says the REAL ID full enforcement date is moving from Oct. 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023. DHS says the pandemic has significantly impacted states’ abilities to issue Real IDs.

Pa. bill would mandate hands-free cellphone use

As a parent and legislator, I have strived to continue shedding light on the importance of roadway safety, especially distracted driving, not only to my children but to all Pennsylvanians.

Pa. Senate OKs bill to halt plans to toll bridges

Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Senate are trying to make Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration start over on its plans to toll up to nine major bridges, approving a bill Tuesday to require the state Department of Transportation to undergo a new process that includes approval from the legislature.

Pa.’s infrastructure in need of an upgrade?

The need to improve, upgrade and modernize the nation’s infrastructure is an issue that most Americans and elected officials from both parties can agree on.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 17

April 26, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 17
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State senator pushes PennDOT on plans for tolling bridges

A Pennsylvania state senator pushed PennDOT for answers on plans to toll nine bridges across the state during the Senate budget hearing.

Pa. Turnpike meeting expectations with toll-by-plate method

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says it’s on track with its expectations after initiating toll-by-plate 10 months ago. But E-ZPass is still the preferred method, and only about 15% of its customers use toll-by-plate.

Don’t Zoom and drive

Video conferencing has grown over the past year as more and more people started working from home. As things started opening up, you may have found yourself driving while on a Zoom call.

Citing increased litter, PennDOT and state police warn of penalties

Citing increased reports of rubbish on the sides of area roads, officials from the state police and state Department of Transportation met Friday at PennDOT’s district office in Dunmore to issue a warning to those who would toss their garbage out of the window: it could cost you time and money.

PennDOT speed enforcement leading to more tickets on I-79

PennDOT officials said they’ve issued more than 20,000 citations on one stretch of I-79 near the southern beltway project thanks to new technology that can catch more than one driver going too fast.

Traffic fatalities in 2020 second-lowest on record

While the number of traffic deaths increased in 2020 to 1,129 from a record low of 1,059 in 2019, last year was the second-lowest number of highway fatalities recorded, according to PennDOT.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 16

April 20, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 16
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Gov. Wolf announces 43 multimodal projects

Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that 43 highway, bridge, rail, and bike and pedestrian projects in 21 counties were selected for $45.9 million in funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Houlahan: Infrastructure plan will bring good jobs to Chester County

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) on Friday called for robust infrastructure funding for her community and the Commonwealth of PA to be included in this year’s surface transportation spending package.

Southern Beltway close to opening

The first major highway to be added to the Pittsburgh driving landscape since the Parkway North opened in 1989 is just around the curve. Conceived in the 1980s and in the works since 1991, the Southern Beltway is just a few months from opening.

Pa. gets C-minus for infrastructure as Biden makes pitch

Pennsylvania’s 7,540 miles of highway roads are in poor condition. Florida has seen $100 billion in damages over the last decade from extreme weather events. There are 1 in 4 Idahoans with no access to broadband internet, and 1 in 2 living in areas with too-few licensed child care centers.

Pa. trucking torn between tax hike and smooth roads

A bipartisan congressional delegation was scheduled to travel up impeccably paved Pennsylvania Avenue from Capitol Hill to the White House Monday for the first official discussions on the Biden administration’s already controversial infrastructure plan.

Committee advances safe driving bill

The House Transportation Committee recently advanced legislation that would advocate for roadway safety and responsible driving practices.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 15

April 12, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 15
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America’s infrastructure needs: Too big to solve?

The lesson is clear: Funding for roads and bridges historically has not been about roads and bridges. President Biden appears to be following this tradition. His $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan targets only about 6 percent to fixing our highway and bridge infrastructure, while “dedicated” funds in the Highway Trust Fund, funded by the federal gas tax, will not change.

PennDOT accepting unsolicited P-3 proposals

The PennDOT Office of Public-Private Partnerships announced that it is accepting unsolicited proposals for transportation projects from the private sector through April 30.

 

Biden plan would address transportation needs

April 9, 2021 by · Comments Off on Biden plan would address transportation needs
Filed under: Featured 

President Biden’s recent appearance in Pittsburgh, in which he unveiled what he called the American Jobs Plan, has drawn considerable discussion across the nation. While some aspects of it have drawn criticism, many people have embraced the transportation infrastructure portions.

While details have yet to be determined, the general concepts seem sound. They include:

  • Modernizing 20,000 miles of highways, roads and streets.
  • Fixing the 10 most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction.
  • Repairing the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, providing critical linkages to communities.
  • Replacing thousands of buses and rail cars, repairing hundreds of stations, renewing airports and expanding public transportation and rail into new communities.

“Nobody expects that the president’s plan will turn out to be exactly as he proposed it, but the transportation portions of it would create tens of thousands of jobs and address the critical needs to restore the infrastructure,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “We’ll see if Congress and the president can finally come to a consensus on transportation funding.”

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 14

April 5, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 14
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Real ID enforcement to begin Oct. 1 for air travel

If you are planning to fly on a commercial domestic flight or enter a federal building that requires acceptable identification after Oct. 1, you’ll need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or photo ID card.

Hennessey probes PennDOT on services, regs suspended in pandemic

Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester/Montgomery), majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee, recently sent a letter to PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian, asking for an update on regulatory and enforcement matters at PennDOT that have been suspended, waived or modified during the COVID-19 emergency.

Pennsylvania commits $452.7M for road, bridge maintenance

PennDOT recently committed $452.7 million to municipalities to help maintain bridges and roads. Funding will be distributed under a formula based on a municipality’s population and miles of locally-owned roads. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced gas tax revenues, and this year’s allocation is approximately 7 percent less than the 2020 allocation.

Pennsylvania bill would reform Delaware River toll commission

A Pennsylvania bill on the move is intended to clear up inconsistencies in laws governing operation of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

Transportation experts eye cash influx with presidential plan

A recent PennDOT study shows a $15 billion need in infrastructure improvements. One major problem is the state has just short of $7 billion in its coffers.

State lawmakers call on Biden to fund Mon Valley transportation

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, where he’s expected to detail his infrastructure and jobs plan, a group of Democratic lawmakers representing western Pennsylvania are urging him to remember the Mon Valley.

PennDOT to invest $240 million In region, much less than planned

District executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni said despite a great list of projects, funding shortages have put them way behind on maintenance, and they’re applying Band-Aids where they can.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 13

March 29, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 13
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Federal pandemic aid floated as solution for Pa. bridge repair

Bob Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, told the House Transportation Committee this week to award $1.3 billion in new contracts – referred to as “lettings” within the road construction industry – from the $7.3 billion allocated to the state via the American Rescue Plan.

Panel begins work on finding new ways to pay for transportation needs

Work has begun on finding new ways to raise more money for road and bridge projects and allow Pennsylvania to phase out its gas tax.

Pa. House panel vets PennDOT’s bridge tolling proposal

There’s little dispute over the need for Pennsylvania to find new ways of funding transportation projects but how to do it is where division ensues, including the proposed tolling of bridges to pay for their reconstruction.

PennDOT to commercial drivers: No more license, permit extensions after March 31

PennDOT said the most recent extension for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits ends March 31, and there are no plans to extend the expiration dates again.

Highway construction firms oppose PennDOT’s bridge toll plan

A prominent highway construction trade association on Wednesday came out against a state plan to toll up to nine major bridges around Pennsylvania in need of repairs as lawmakers move to block the plan, although Gov. Tom Wolf’s top transportation official disputed the trade association’s criticisms.

PennDOT to begin upgrade of I-95 interchange in Philadelphia

James J. Anderson Construction of Philadelphia is general contractor on the $31,245,910 project that is financed with 100 percent federal funds. The entire project is expected to be completed by late 2022.

 

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 12

March 22, 2021 by · Comments Off on PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 12
Filed under: News 

Transportation funding must be addressed

Gov. Tom Wolf’s new approach to identifying reliable long-term funding for Keystone State roadways and public transit systems faces numerous “potholes.”

Pa. elected officials call for Feds to support transition to electric cars

State and local elected officials are calling on the federal government to speed the transition to cleaner vehicles.

I-83 bridge toll proposal may force state’s hand on gas tax funding problem

Pennsylvania’s long and largely unfruitful struggle to sustainably fund both transit and the state police is a few steps closer to hitting a breaking point — one which will almost certainly have an impact on Cumberland County.

Will Pennsylvania Be the First State to Motor Past the Gas Tax?

After Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act last week, infrastructure spending—and its funding—is taking center stage. For example, the federal excise tax rate on motor fuels has not been changed since 1993, and the tax has not raised sufficient revenue to cover expenditures since 2008. Several states also are in this position and are looking for ways to address the issue.

New commission must find ways to pay for Pa. infrastructure

There is one thing that nearly everyone can agree on — Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges are in desperate need of repairs and upgrades. There is also one thing that almost no one can agree on — how to pay for it.

Sens. Langerholc, Sabatina invited to join Transportation Revenue Options Commission

Sens. Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-Cambria County) and John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia), Senate Transportation Committee chairman and minority chairman, have been invited to sit on the Transportation Revenue Options Commission.

PennDOT widening projects under increased scrutiny during transit funding uncertainty

Pennsylvania transportation officials have estimated that they need about $15 billion a year to keep the state’s roads and bridges in good condition, even though there is only about $6.9 billion in funds available. This shortfall has led Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration to propose several methods of raising revenue for PennDOT.

Radar speeding enforcement for local police passes in House committee

A bill allowing municipal police across Pennsylvania to use radar guns for speed enforcement details passed the state House Transportation Committee 25-0 Tuesday in a strong early show of support.

Tolling I-83 South Bridge could wind up saving people time and money: PennDOT official

Tolling the I-83 South Bridge to pay for its replacement may cost motorists money but a PennDOT official suggested it also could produce some savings for them from not having to sit idling in traffic jams waiting to get across the Susquehanna River.

Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway construction is once again underway

Construction of the northern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway has resumed after a winter shutdown.

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