PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 49

December 14, 2020

Pa. road deaths kept climbing even as millions stayed home

Despite a dramatic decrease in driving brought on by the pandemic this year, more people are dying on Pennsylvania roads than in 2019. And a Morning Call review of road fatalities in the Lehigh Valley suggests the trend may have been worse here.

PennDOT issues one millionth REAL ID

PennDOT on Friday announced it has issued its one millionth REAL ID product. The milestone is considered a major step toward providing REAL ID-compliant products to customers.

Report forecasts modest declines in 2021 construction market

The U.S. transportation construction market is expected to shrink 5.5% next year, driven primarily by the severe economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the annual forecast released Dec. 10 by the Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Funds earmarked for Pa.’s U.S. 219 roadway expansion study

Pennsylvania state officials said the Appalachian Program Development has earmarked $6 million in federal funding to aid the resumption of environmental studies regarding the U.S. 219 expansion.

Governor announces 13 municipalities will receive enforcement funds

Governor Tom Wolf announced that PennDOT will distribute $8.2 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement funding to 13 municipalities statewide to fund 16 safety projects.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 48

December 7, 2020

Pa. lawmakers must once again face transportation funding woes this winter

Hundreds of road and bridge projects across Pennsylvania are temporarily funded until early winter on short-term debt as lawmakers negotiate a fix for a pandemic-linked budget gap that shows the holes in Pennsylvania’s transportation funding.

PennDOT extends expiration dates on commercial driver licenses, commercial learner’s permits

PennDOT announced Wednesday 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.

Electric-powered trucks rule, vehicle fee passes Pa. Senate

A bill continuing to move through the Pennsylvania General Assembly would add the Pennsylvania to the list of states adopting federal weight exemption for electric-powered trucks. A separate provision would tap certain alternative fuel vehicle owners for more money.

Work on Pa.’s road, bridge projects given the green light to continue for now

A last-minute agreement between Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders has averted the need for hundreds of road and bridge projects across the commonwealth to shut down on Tuesday.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 47

December 1, 2020

Hiding the symptoms

So, from the front-page article in the Nov. 25 Daily Item, it appears many of our Harrisburg politicians are now very upset and angry at PennDOT for not giving them more warning about running out of money for road and bridge projects by Dec. 1.

Biden mulling Rahm Emanuel for transportation chief, report says

Democrat Joe Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel’s candidacy for the head of the Department of Transportation, an Axios report said on Sunday.

Mass layoffs loom as PennDOT funding comes up $600M short

There’s been no word yet from Harrisburg on possible state legislative action to address a funding shortfall from PennDOT that could lead to layoffs as early as this week.

State Police, PennDOT launch holiday driving initiatives

The Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT launched Operation Safe Holiday to remind motorists of the importance of safe driving and consistent seat belt use during the holiday season.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 45

November 16, 2020

PennDOT green lights plan to add tolls on some bridges

The Department of Transportation has given the green light for a proposal that could add tolls on an undetermined number of bridges. Which bridges might be involved has not been announced.

State seeks to add Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Amtrak train

Amtrak’s proposal to add another Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg daily round-trip train in about three years is good news to Sharon Calloway of Uniontown, a frequent traveler on the Pennsylvanian train from Greensburg to New York City, where she works.

Infrastructure, jobs are key to coming together under Biden, say Pa. Republicans, unions

After more than a decade of division — Republicans trying to block Barack Obama at every move and Democrats questioning Donald Trump’s legitimacy — President-elect Joe Biden is inheriting a contentious crowd.

P-3 Board approves bridge program

Pennsylvania’s Public Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Board today approved a new transportation initiative that will help accelerate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of major bridges in partnership with the private sector.

Pa. governor announces Municipal Assistance Program

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the approval of six projects through the Municipal Assistance Program to assist local governments with planning for zoning, coordinating emergency services, and creating comprehensive plans.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 44

November 10, 2020

PennDOT celebrates near-completion of Route 322/Potters Mills Gap project

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Executive Deputy Secretary George McAuley joined local officials today at a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the near-completion of the Route 322 project near the village of Potters Mills.

What an ‘Amtrak Joe’ presidency means for transportation

With Pennsylvania pushing him over the edge, former Vice President Joe Biden is now President-elect Joe Biden. The man with a railroad in his nickname can now start planning for a presidency that could be shaped — in more ways than one — by transportation and infrastructure.

$6 million secured for U.S. Route 219 completion studies

Six million dollars in federal funding has been secured for the resumption of environmental and engineering studies associated with upgrading the last two-lane section of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County to a four-lane limited-access highway, state officials announced Monday.

Would private firm want to operate the turnpike?

A recent study by the Reason Foundation suggests that Pennsylvania should consider leasing the operations of the turnpike to a private firm in exchange for a large upfront payment.