PHIA NEWS DIGEST

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

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.

 

PHIA NEWS DIGEST

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 19

May 10, 2021

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

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 18

May 3, 2021

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

PHIA News Digest – Vol. 6, No. 17

April 26, 2021

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.