PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 14

April 5, 2021

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

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 13

March 29, 2021

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

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 11

March 15, 2021

Gov. Wolf commits to phasing out gas tax, announces commission to develop funding solutions 

Governor Tom Wolf today reiterated his commitment to phase out Pennsylvania’s gas tax, which is becoming an unreliable source for funding Pennsylvania’s vast transportation network. To make this possible and to further address the state’s transportation funding needs, the governor has also signed an Executive Order establishing the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, which will develop comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania’s large and aging infrastructure.

PA Turnpike refutes ‘most expensive’ toll road in the world ranking

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials say a recent report ranking its toll rates the highest in the world is “seriously flawed.”

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg shares thoughts on bridge and I-80 tolls

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says he’s open to tolling Interstate 80 but not inclined to see bridges tolled.

PA’s rank regarding bad bridges continues to improve

Of the 22,911 bridges in Pennsylvania, the FHWA classified 15.3% (3,501 bridges) of them as structurally deficient in 2019. This is down from 4,701 bridges in 2015.

The debate over tolling Pennsylvania bridges, explained 

Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is in trouble. Lackluster tax collections during the COVID-19 pandemic nearly put a halt last year to hundreds of road projects across the commonwealth, which were kept alive only after the state floated short-term debt to pay contractors and suppliers.

Pa. lawmaker wants to slow down plan to add tolls on bridges

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria County, has introduced legislation that would limit the powers of the independent public-private partnership board that authorized the bridge tolling plan.

PennDOT announces new Scenic Byway designation

PennDOT announced that the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway in Chester and Delaware counties has received a National Scenic Byways designation from the Federal Highway Administration.

Electric vehicle use bills are introduced

Rep. MaryLouise Isaacson, D-Philadelphia, has introduced two pieces of legislation in the state House of Representatives. House Bill 524 was referred recently to the House Finance Committee. It would amend the Tax Reform Code of 1971 to create a tax exemption for any zero-emission vehicle.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 10

March 9, 2021

PennDOT: Bridge toll plan will strengthen Pa.

Pennsylvania is home to the fifth largest state-maintained road network and third highest number of bridges in the country, so the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s responsibility over our aging transportation system is a large one.

PhilaPort breaks ground on new near-dock warehouse

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and senior PhilaPort leadership participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new near-dock warehouse. The new PhilaPort Distribution Center will fuel the next phase of development for one of the fastest growing ports in America.

PA Turnpike tolls tabbed as most expensive in the world, study finds

So you want to drive across the state of Pennsylvania? Make sure there’s enough money in your bank account first. A recent report by insurance website Budget Direct found that the Pennsylvania Turnpike topped its list as the most expensive toll road in the world.

Finding way to fund police can help Pa. bridges

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s plan to toll nine bridges to offset the cost of replacing and rehabilitating the state’s crumbling infrastructure does make some sense. It also highlights the commonwealth’s ongoing funding problem for two key elements: Infrastructure and the state police.

Pa., state electric vehicle scorecards show there’s room for improvement

A report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy shows that many states, including Pennsylvania have work to do to better support electric vehicles (EVs) and EV infrastructure in their states.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 9

March 1, 2021

Registration fees, fuel tax eyed for increases as state struggles to fund its highways, bridges

Pennsylvania has the second highest gasoline tax in the U.S. after California and with more electric cars in the nation’s future, it means fewer funds will be available to pay for necessary highway and bridge maintenance, a Lycoming County transportation expert said.

Lawmakers working on bill to prevent PennDOT’s proposed tolling

When PennDOT announced they were considering tolling bridges, they did it without needing legislative approval. Business owners near the proposed tolling site say this could force them to close up shop for good.

Proposed bridge tolls could be the end of the road for the Pa. bus industry

The decision to toll bridges on the interstate system is one that the Pennsylvania Bus Association strongly disagrees with. Our industry already pays more than its fair share to operate on Pennsylvania roadways and additional tolls would only add to that increasing cost.

Bridge commission proposes system-wide toll hikes amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission wants to hike E-ZPass tolls by 25 percent and cash tolls by 200 percent later this spring to boost revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

PennDOT extends expiration dates on commercial driver licenses

PennDOT announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

PennDOT details funding problems and possible fixes

During its annual budget hearing Tuesday, the commonwealth’s Department of Transportation told House lawmakers it’s mulling ways to fix short-term funding problems –– without asking for more state money.

Pennsylvania ranks 17th in U.S. in switching to electric vehicles

Pennsylvania ranks 17th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in transitioning from gas-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles, according to a study conducted by the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy.