PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 24

June 10, 2019

Restore PA: Everything you need to know about Gov. Tom Wolf’s infrastructure plan

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled the details of Restore Pennsylvania, an initiative rebuild crumbling infrastructure, expand broadband access, and help communities fight blight.

Why you might be paying more for toll road travel and not even know it

In some states, how much you pay could depend on where you bought your E-ZPass transponder, as our friends at Stateline.org report.

Real ID’s slow start worries Pennsylvania officials

Fewer than 15 percent of those expected to get a Real ID have sought one in the first three months since Pennsylvania began issuing cards in March, according to PennDOT data.

Governor’s message: Pa. stands behind Philadelphia’s port

My administration is working to improve the transportation infrastructure of Pennsylvania, and the Port of Philadelphia (PhilaPort) is no exception. More than $300 million in infrastructure, warehousing, and equipment investments are underway at PhilaPort through my Capital Investment Program and port development plan.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 23

June 4, 2019

Harrisburg leaders want answers before hiring engineer for impact study on I-83 expansion

Before the city of Harrisburg enters into a contract with an engineering firm to perform a traffic and community impact analysis on the proposed I-83 Capital Beltway project, council members would like to know how much the study would cost as well know the study’s timeline.

OPINION | It’s been a rough year for mass transit

With falling ridership and scrapped expansion projects, urban transit faces an uncertain future.

Pennsylvania’s rural roads, bridges have significant deficiencies and high fatality rates

America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation’s heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber. With increases in population and growing employment, rural America is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system to sustain further growth.

Governor announces 40 municipalities to receive Red Light Enforcement funds

Gov. Tom Wolf announced that PennDOT will distribute $15.4 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding to 38 municipalities statewide to fund 50 safety projects.

Our view: Pa. roads need lasting fix

Something as elemental as deploying tax dollars to maintain the roads and bridges that make our lives and livelihoods possible should be an urgent, universal priority, even in a state as geographically diverse as Pennsylvania.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 22

May 28, 2019

By the numbers: Pennsylvania ranks 5th highest for its share of structurally deficient bridges

Pennsylvania finished fifth among the 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., in a new analysis examining which states have the highest percentage of bridges in poor condition.

Final phase of Turnpike project starts Monday

The work began six years ago, now a major construction project on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is reaching its final phase Monday. The goal was widen the turnpike between the Allegheny Valley and Butler Valley interchanges.

SEPTA approves $2 billion for operating, capital budget

SEPTA on Thursday approved a $1.49 billion operating budget and a $675 million capital budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget, which will take effect July 1, includes no fare increases. The agency maintains a schedule of increasing fares every three years, and hikes are due in fiscal year 2021.

Mayors appear increasingly concerned about infrastructure

As the prospects for a federal infrastructure package this year become vanishingly thin, mayors are becoming more concerned about infrastructure in their own cities.

Gridlock in D.C. means no action on aging bridges, crumbling roads

Business leaders and communities across the country are expressing alarm that the bitter partisan impasse in Washington is paralyzing efforts to revamp the nation’s deteriorating and outdated infrastructure.

These are 12 of the biggest road projects to slow your travels in Pa. this summer

But what are the really big projects under construction this summer? Here’s a look at the largest, highest-priced projects being undertaken in each of 12 transportation districts across the state.

Pa. lawmakers move to enact fee for full-time state police service

State lawmakers are moving to enact a fee on communities that rely on Pennsylvania State Police for law enforcement after decades of diverting infrastructure funding to cover those costs. State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, introduced a bill last week; its Senate companion is expected to be introduced in early June, when budget negotiations start in earnest.

Feds certify Pennsylvania’s Real ID system meets standards

Pennsylvania’s Real ID identification system is now in compliance with federal regulations, more than a year before the IDs will be needed for commercial airline passengers and those entering secured federal facilities.

Pennsylvania Turnpike to resume mass transit borrowing

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has decided to resume borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars for SEPTA and other mass transit systems in the state. The borrowing had been suspended due to a lawsuit.

 

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 21

May 21, 2019

The Pa. Turnpike toll debacle is our next financial crisis. This is how to fix it

Believing that criticism without a solution is unfair, here’s an idea shared last spring with then-House Majority Leader Dave Reed, and with others since: Raise the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 4 percent.

Giant Eagle adding car-charging stations thanks to $660K in state grants

The state Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday announced $660,000 in grants to Giant Eagle to add electric car charging stations in Allegheny, Butler and Washington counties aimed at expansion of the state’s alternative fuel highway network.

Ohio, Pennsylvania plan interstate system for managing road work

Ohio and Pennsylvania will soon start developing an interstate system for managing road construction projects officials hope will reduce confusion for motorists and transportation authorities.

A modest proposal to fund transportation — without raising taxes

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale attracted statewide attention recently with an audit showing that during the last six years, Pennsylvania had diverted more than $4.2 billion in revenue intended to be used to fix and maintain the state’s roads and bridges. Instead, that money was used to fund State Police operations.

Philadelphia unveils $200 million street repaving plan

The City of Philadelphia released its plan for the 2019 paving season Wednesday, as it starts the process of repaving roads around the city.

Centre County planning looking for citizen input on State College Area Connector project

Centre County residents have an opportunity to make their voices heard concerning a $20 million allocation to the State College Area Connector project, which aims to improve U.S. Route 322 from the Seven Mountains to State College.

Fixing an aging interstate: How I-95 construction challenges illustrate US road issues

Here’s a look at what’s happening and what’s needed to fix the 1,917-mile route from Miami to Houlton, Maine.

Valley should back public transit

No other venture in the region comes close to potentially impacting a larger number of people like an affordable and accessible public transportation system. Nearly every need-based review of the Susquehanna Valley inevitably points to a lack of public transportation as a considerable hindrance to growth and workforce development.

Plans announced to add more options for bicyclists across the state

PennDOT plans to unveil a draft of the department’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan on May 30 via webcast. Although details are limited, the improvements will include adding more trails and protected bike lanes.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 4, No. 20

May 15, 2019

Is Clean Air Act’s vehicle emissions testing requirement outdated?

The emissions requirements are part of the Clean Air Act passed by Congress in 1990 requiring that metropolitan areas with a population of more than 100,000 require the testing. But cars have changed in the nearly 30 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, and only about 3 percent of the more than seven million Pennsylvania vehicles that are tested fail.

Turnpike CEO: Agency is holding down costs

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has done its part to hold down costs, CEO Mark Compton said last week. But the agency still could face significant financial problems in the next few years unless the state Legislature provides some relief, he maintained two days after the agency adopted a fiscal year 2019-20 operating budget of $432 million.

Lessons for Michigan on quickly replacing old bridges, from a state that’s done it

In Pennsylvania, the state launched a $1.8 billion program in 2015 to replace 558 structurally deficient state-owned bridges, with the last of them expected to be finished this year. The program leverages a 2012 state law that allows for “P3s” (public-private partnerships) on transportation projects.

Lawmaker proposes new highway to link Mon-Fayette Expressway to Pittsburgh

Rep. Mike Puskaric, R-Jefferson Hills, is pushing for construction of a three-mile, four-lane highway known as the Route 885 Connector to link the Mon-Fayette Expressway near Dravosburg to the city near the Glenwood Bridge.

It’s time to get our heads together on infrastructure

During another challenging time, the late Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr., father of Pennsylvania’s current U.S. Senator, offered the sage advice that “We need to put our heads together instead of banging them together.”

Bond market ‘favorable’ on possible resumption of PA turnpike borrowing

Despite ongoing litigation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike has gotten a positive response from the bond market as it considers whether to resume borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars for mass transit.

State ranks No. 2 in U.S. for bad bridges, with some in central Pa. among the worst: report

Pennsylvania is ranked No. 2 for having the most structurally deficient bridges in the United States, according to an American Road and Transportation Builders Association report released in April.

Here’s what you need to know about the SmartMoves transportation plan

Do you have strong opinions about the future of commuting? Our leaders want to hear them. Starting today, the SmartMoves for a Changing Region draft plan is available for public comment.

Paul Muschick: Why one Turnpike scofflaw is paying only $11,500 of his $128,000 bill

Jovin Jose, the Bucks County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Stiff and Robinson, told me the cases can be more complicated than they seem. If they are resolved without the expense of a trial, the Turnpike has been willing to accept what it is owed in tolls and not worry about the accrued fees, which make up most of the total due, Jose said.