PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 2

January 14, 2020

Pa. House passes bill to study exempting newer vehicles from emissions testing

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives wants the state to conduct a study that will determine how old a vehicle can be to be exempted from the state’s annual emissions testing requirement and still comply with federal environmental rules.

Empower communities to protect cyclists and pedestrians

Parking protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas not only provide more safety, they have been shown to attract investment from young professionals and the kind of forward-thinking employers our cities desperately need.

Luzerne County councilmen vouching for $5 vehicle fee ordinance

A hot topic in Luzerne County is the 5-dollar vehicle registration fee that residents no longer want to pay.

Electric cars will challenge state power grids

As Washington and other states urge their residents to buy electric vehicles — a crucial component of efforts to reduce carbon emissions — they also need to make sure the electric grid can handle it.

Rep. Hennessey announces reelection bid to 26th Dist. House seat

State Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26th Dist., has announced his candidacy to seek a 14th term in Harrisburg. Hennessey is majority chair of the House Transportation Committee.

No toll hikes on bridges across the Delaware River — for now

The Delaware River Port Authority has some good news for drivers who use its four bridges: A no-toll-hike pledge is being extended for an extra year.

Public input sought for potential region-wide transportation emissions cap-and-invest program

A draft version of a regional cap-and-invest program for the transportation sector is open for public input until the end of February. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, involved in the Transportation and Climate Initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, which is facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center.

Plans for next round of Lehigh Valley transit projects begin without Route 22 widening

The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study prepared a list of nearly $563 million of projects it intends to tackle in the next 12 years, but widening Route 22 was not on it. By voting Wednesday to send the draft plan to PennDOT’s central office, study members acknowledged they do not have the funds to widen the Lehigh Valley’s busiest and most congested highway.

New bill could ban drivers from using handheld cellphones in PA

Pennsylvania could soon join 20 other states in banning drivers from using handheld cellphones while operating a vehicle.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 1

January 6, 2020

Pa. Turnpike tragedy: 5 dead in ‘horrific incident’ that could take weeks to investigate

Five people died in what Pennsylvania State Police called a chain-reaction crash near mile marker 86 in the westbound lanes in Mt. Pleasant Township. More than 50 others were taken to hospitals across the region.

EDITORIAL: Answer needed on Turnpike toll spirals

Benjamin Franklin famously noted there were but two certainties in life: Death and taxes. Were he around today, he would no doubt add a third: Toll hikes on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

SEPTA General Manger Leslie Richards joins Weitzman faculty

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design welcomes former PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards to the faculty in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Get an electric car for Christmas? Here’s how many places Pa. has to charge it

Pennsylvania has 1,131 electric car charging stations statewide, which is, frankly, far more than we thought the state would have. It’s also better than some of our neighboring states: Ohio, at 1,115 is the Keystone State’s nearest rival, while New Jersey has 846 charging stations.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 52

December 30, 2019

Pennsylvania wants to fix its Medicaid transit program but there’s no easy way

Currently, the state allows counties to decide how to transport residents. A proposed alternative would pay independent brokers to coordinate transportation across regions. A state-commissioned report, delivered to state legislators Friday, said both options have disadvantages. It didn’t recommend one approach over the other for overhauling the Medical Assistance Transportation Program, the state’s answer to a federal mandate to offer free nonemergency medical transportation for Pennsylvania’s 2.8 million Medicaid patients.

Jeep Cherokee watching: Pa. to start automated speed enforcement in work zones

Beginning Jan. 4, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Turnpike will begin a 60-day pilot program to formally test what’s called the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program. The program is designed to cause drivers to slow down in construction areas by setting up speed monitoring equipment in work areas.

Ex-lawmaker: Now is time to fix Pa. transportation network

A task force report focusing on critical weaknesses in Pennsylvania’s transportation network was released in Harrisburg as the year drew to a close. A former state lawmaker who now runs the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is calling it a good starting point for action.

Brian Allen named district executive for PennDOT District 10

Brian N. Allen, P.E., has been appointed the district executive for the western region of PennDOT. He is responsible for overseeing all functions District 10, which serves Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 51

December 24, 2019

Pa. Turnpike officials expecting record-setting holiday travel this year

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is anticipating a record-setting holiday travel period, with more than six million people hitting the turnpike through New Year’s Day.

1-99 designation draws closer

The designation of U.S. Route 15 as an interstate is getting closer. At the Dec. 13 Develop Tioga meeting, President Alan Quimby reported on a recent meeting with PennDOT officials. A draft version of the deficiencies postponing the designation was released and contains only two items that need to be corrected, said Quimby.

Multi-state pact could curb transportation carbon emissions, raise gas prices

The proposal — known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative — is aimed at reducing pollutants contributing to global warming. An alliance of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states has been working on the project that would create a cap on pollution from transportation.

Before scrapping Pa.’s annual auto emissions inspections, lawmakers call for a study first

State lawmakers remain interested in enabling most Pennsylvanians to avoid spending about $40 annually on auto emission inspections, but they are tapping the brakes a bit. The reason? Lawmakers want to be sure they don’t risk millions in federal aid.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 50

December 16, 2019

Super load headed to destination in Clinton County

A slow-moving super load is expected to arrive at its destination in Clinton County on Monday. The industrial dryer headed for First Quality Tissue in Lock Haven began its journey from Erie more than a week ago.

Truckers turn to U.S. Supreme Court over Turnpike toll diversion

Truck drivers who claim the Pennsylvania Turnpike is illegally using tolls to pay for non-turnpike items such as public transit have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their lawsuit.