PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 24

June 14, 2021

Pa. Turnpike unveils possible remedy to issue of truck parking

Pennsylvania is in the middle of the nationwide truck parking problem, where an initial lack of parking spots has gotten worse amid the dramatic growth of e-commerce and its need for home deliveries.

All PennDOT driver’s license, photo centers will close in observance of Juneteenth

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that all driver license and photo centers will be closed on Friday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth.

Senate committee unveils rail and transportation safety bill

The Senate Commerce Committee unveiled a bipartisan bill Thursday to provide $78 billion in funding for rail networks, major grant programs and road safety agencies, a second jigsaw piece in efforts to put together a transportation spending package.

House panel advances $547 billion surface transportation bill

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced, 38-26, a five-year, $547 billion surface transportation bill largely along party lines early Thursday morning. Two Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Jenniffer González-Colón of Puerto Rico, supported the bill.

All the Pa. projects in U.S. House Dems’ $547B transportation bill

U.S. House Democrats’ highway funding bill is poised to include roughly three out of five transportation projects submitted by members, as legislators vie for their share of federal dollars through the resurrected congressional earmarks process.

Pa. Senate bill aims for statewide EV infrastructure

The Pennsylvania Senate is considering legislation (SB 435) requiring the State’s electric distribution utilities to build out transportation electrification infrastructure statewide.

Pittman’s transportation funding bill passes committee

State Senator Joe Pittman has announced the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation concerning diverting state funds from essential transportation improvement projects to support the Pennsylvania State Police.

Selling Americans on electric vehicles handicapped by charging time

If the auto industry is to succeed in its bet that electric vehicles will soon dominate the roads, it will need to overcome a big reason why many people are still avoiding them: fear of running out of juice between Point A and Point B.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 23

June 7, 2021

Langerholc proposes alternative to bridge tolls

User fees for electric vehicles, tighter review of PennDOT spending, and more existing funds directed to highways, bridges, passenger rail and the Pennsylvania Turnpike are among sweeping changes in legislation proposed by state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland Township.

U.S. and Pa. traffic deaths up in 2020, highest since 2007

U.S. traffic deaths rose 7% last year, the biggest increase in 13 years even though people drove fewer miles due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s road safety agency reported Thursday.

PA Senate Dems hold hearing on Mon Fayette Expressway

The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hybrid in-person and virtual public hearing to discuss the Mon Fayette Expressway and its impact on the state’s southwest region.

PA must make a long-term commitment to fund public transit

Lawmakers in Harrisburg are on the clock to pass legislation that will continue support for working class and communities of color, boost the state’s economy and improve air quality, as funding for public transit is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2022.

Tolls, taxes, mileage-based fees mulled

Pennsylvania faces an $8.1 billion annual shortfall for interstates and bridges, and overall, the state has $9.3 billion in unmet needs across its state-maintained system, which includes highways, bridges, aviation, railroads, transit and ports. Without a significant increase in federal investment, PennDOT says, it has been forced to take money away from regional projects to help the interstate network.

Turnpike Commission gives update on Mon-Fayette Expressway

Driving from the South Hills to Pittsburgh International Airport will become an easier task in October when the Southern Beltway of the Mon-Fayette Expressway opens. It will connect from the existing portion that is already open and connect with Interstate 79 and Route 22, before ending at the airport.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 22

June 2, 2021

Infrastructure overhaul should focus on safety, advocates say

In Montgomery County, Md., a woman was struck by a car and killed while crossing a busy, six-lane road in April—four years after her husband was killed trying to cross the same road.

Gateway Tunnel between New York and New Jersey gains federal support

After four years of stalling by the Trump administration, officials in Washington approved the $11.6 billion project for federal funding.

Central Pennsylvanians voice frustrations in PennDOT town hall

Most of the questions centered around PennDOT proposing tolling nine PA bridges. Residents voiced their concerns, but according to the state, they might not have many other options.

Senate panel green lights police radar bill

Long-debated legislation to allow local police to use radar for speed enforcement moved out of the Senate transportation committee Tuesday. A similar bill was approved by the House transportation committee earlier this year.

Work to start on two-year Interstate 79 improvements

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced Monday the start of work on a two-year project to improve nearly 11 miles of Interstate 79 in Crawford and Erie counties.

PennDOT announces reopening of more driver license centers

PennDOT announced Monday that more driver license centers in the western half of the state will be reopening for driver licensing and photo services.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 21

May 24, 2021

Pols from Pa., nationwide jostle for federal transportation cash

The White House continues negotiations with congressional Republicans, and it’s not yet clear how much money will be available to dole out or how—but lawmakers also presented with the opportunity to earmark transportation funds for the first time in a decade aren’t taking any chances.

Nearly 150 pedestrians killed by drivers across Pa. in 2020

There is a new report that the reduction in the number of vehicles on the road in 2020 did not reduce the number of collisions, especially for pedestrians. A report shows that in 2020 drivers beat and killed 145 pedestrians across Pennsylvania. Experts said drivers and pedestrians need to be careful.

Biden plan seeks to fix existing roads. Some states focus on expansion

The Federal Highway Administration estimates a $435 billion backlog of rehabilitation needs, while an analysis of agency data by The Washington Post shows a fifth of the nation’s major roads, stretching almost 164,000 miles, were rated in poor condition in 2019. That figure has stayed mostly unchanged for a decade.

Somerset board hopeful about Route 219 funding

As President Joe Biden and key Republican senators huddle up this week to try to reach a bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, Somerset County’s commissioners will be awaiting every update.

Bipartisan bill to fund state DOTs introduced in U.S. House

U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Salud Carbajal (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize an additional $18 billion in emergency funding for state departments of transportation.

GOP senator floats temporary cut to state gas tax

In response to rising gas prices and shortages in some parts of the United States, state Sen. Doug Mastriano is seeking to implement a temporary cut to the state’s gas tax in order to provide relief to Pennsylvania consumers.

Electric-powered trucks rule moves ahead in Pa.

Multiple bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would adopt a federal weight exemption for electric-powered trucks. The rule is already in place in the majority of states. Currently, the state of Pennsylvania authorizes electric-powered trucks to weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

Pa. legislation would establish transportation fund

Legislation recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would create a Transportation Reinvestment and Improvement Program and a Transportation Reinvestment and Improvement Program Fund.

Advocacy group calls for speeding up transition to electric vehicles

An environmental advocacy group has called on Pennsylvania to speed up the transition from gasoline-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles to protect future generations from climate change.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 20

May 17, 2021

PennDOT, State Police participate in national ‘Click It Or Ticket’ event

With Memorial Day weekend and the summer travel season approaching, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police are urging drivers to keep traffic safety top of mind when behind the wheel. The agencies will work with municipal police departments and other safety partners across the commonwealth to participate in the national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt education and enforcement initiative from May 17 through June 6.

Rep. Kaufer hosts hearing on transportation funding proposal

Seeking to reengage economic investments in the Commonwealth, Kaufer, R-Kingston, chairman of the House Finance Tax Modernization and Reform Subcommittee, and Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Pike/Wayne), chairman of the House Finance Committee, held an informational hearing regarding Kaufer’s House Bill 1177, which would establish the Transportation Reinvestment and Improvement Program and Transportation Reinvestment and Improvement Program Fund.

Biden has a plan to fix bridges may not be big enough

President Joe Biden wants to go big with his infrastructure plan. But a look at the state of America’s bridges shows he may not be going big enough.

PennDOT airport funding aims to improve economic, operational activity

Gov. Tom Wolf announced state grant funding, which will be directed to 12 airports, on May 12. The grants were issued through PennDOT’s Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, which directs dollars from the state’s General Fund to public-use airports for improving aviation infrastructure.

Panel ponders how to get rid of gas tax

Members of a panel exploring how to shift away from the gas tax said Thursday that the state will need short-term solutions, like increasing vehicle registration fees, in addition to longer-term changes, like developing a system to charge drivers based on the miles they travel.

Pittsburghers divided over city’s push for bike lanes

May is National Bike Month, and there’s an increased focus on bicyclist safety. In Pittsburgh, the issue is front and center as the city installs miles and miles of bike lanes. But those bike lanes are a great divide for Pittsburghers.

Pennsylvania announces projects to receive multimodal funding

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that 43 projects in 21 counties were selected for $45.9 million in Multimodal Transportation Fund allocations.

PennDOT begins posting variable speed limits on Kaefer’s I-76

PennDOT has recently posted Variable Speed Limits and Queue Detection and Warning messages along 14 miles of I-76 between King of Prussia and Philadelphia.

Pa. Turnpike is gouging E-ZPass users for millions, driver claims

A motorist who claims tens of thousands of E-ZPass users are being gouged for millions of dollars in unjustified charges and fines by the Pennsylvania Turnpike is trying to drive home her allegations in a lawsuit filed in Dauphin County Court.

New study: Electric vehicle expansion could help Pa. meet climate goals

Transportation made up 24 percent 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.

Automated vehicles are already on Pa. roads

Although completely driverless cars may still be relegated to the realm of science fiction, automated vehicles are already being driven on Pennsylvania’s roadways. To learn more about what Pennsylvanians think and know about automated vehicles, the state’s Department of Transportation is asking residents to complete a survey.

Closed bridges, broken highways cost drivers hundreds per year

PennDOT plans to spend $7.2 billion repairing or replacing 1,460 of the Commonwealth’s deteriorating bridges. An NBC10 investigation found more than 4,200 in need of repair in the Keystone State. Faulty bridges and roads add big bucks to drivers’ costs every year.