Local Governments to Receive $445 Million for Road Maintenance

March 8, 2016

LOCALFUNDINGUnder Act 89, the comprehensive multi-modal transportation funding bill, Pennsylvania municipalities receive a sum of money annually to maintain local roads and bridges.

This year, PennDOT will release more than $445 million to local governments for this purpose. Local road maintenance is one of the major accomplishments of Act 89. Before the bill passed in 2013, municipalities received just $320 million for the same purpose.

The 2016 disbursement is an increase from last year as well, up from $381 million. Funds come from liquid fuels payments to the state, and can be used to repair public streets where vehicles travel faster than 15 mph.

Of the 120,039 miles of public roads in Pennsylvania, 72,759 are eligible for liquid fuels money.

“The increase in liquid fuels payments to municipalities is just one of the many accomplishments of Act 89,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We have seen considerable improvements to local roads, state roads and bridges, and we will continue to see improvements that would not have been possible without the bipartisan effort behind Act 89.”



PennDOT starts 2016 with $217 million in projects bid

February 24, 2016

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT began the new calendar year with just over $217 million in January lettings.  The official 2015 year-end total was $2.594 billion just shy of PennDOT’s $2.6 billion forecast.  PennDOT reported at the annual meeting of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) that 2016 lettings are expected to be $2.4 billion.

With the 2013 enactment of the transportation funding bill (Act 89) there is reason to see increased lettings.  Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full January letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

January Letting Report* (PDF)

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.



PennDOT, State Police & PHIA Observe State Highway Safety Law Awareness Week

February 23, 2016

This week is Pennsylvania’s Highway Safety Law Awareness Week, and PHIA joins PennDOT and State Police in encouraging motorists to pay special attention to the laws of the road.

State Police and PennDOT highlighted the following list of oft-ignored laws:

  • The “4-Foot Bicycle Law” requires drivers to pass a bicycle at a distance of “not less than four feet” at a careful and prudent speed. The law also permits drivers to cross the center line during this process if safely able to do so.
  • No turn by a driver should interfere with a bicycle proceeding straight.
  • Driving around or through traffic control devices closing a road or highway could result in a $250 fine and two points on a driving record.
  • The “Teen Seat Belt Law” requires drivers and passengers younger than 18 to wear a seat belt anywhere in the vehicle. Also, drivers under 18 may not operate a vehicle where the number of passengers exceeds the number of available seat belts.
  • “Increased fines in work zones” signage urges motorists to be aware when passing through work zones. Violating the posted speed limit by more than five miles per hour could result in doubled fines. The fine is based on how far over the speed limit the vehicle was traveling.
  • A recent amendment to the work zone law also states that any driver who causes serious bodily injury within a work zone is subject to $5,000 in fines and a six-month license suspension. A driver causing a death within a work zone could face a $10,000 fine and one-year license suspension.

“Highway safety is one of the biggest priorities of the highway industry,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Unfortunately, drivers are sometimes unaware of laws or ignore them. This week serves as a positive reminder for these rules.”



Highway Community Mourns Former PA Highway Secretary and PHIA President Bartlett

February 11, 2016

BartlettFormer Pennsylvania Highway Secretary Robert G. Bartlett, who led the Pennsylvania Highway Department under Governors Scranton and Shafer and was PHIA president from 1980 to 1986, passed away last week.

Bob was born in 1931 and graduated in 1953 from West Point with a BS in engineering. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Korea and had various postings in the U.S. until retiring from active duty as a captain in 1957.

He then worked as an engineer and labor relations specialist with Bethlehem Steel, and became Secretary of Highways while Pennsylvania was building the Interstate System. He served as PHIA president while he was executive vice president of L.B. Smith Inc. in Camp Hill.  He also received PHIA’s highest honor–The Transportation Advocate of the Year Award–in 1986.

“Secretary Bartlett was a terrific advocate for the highway industry in Pennsylvania, and our highway department was recognized as a national model under his leadership,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.”



PHIA president Van Buren supports State Police funding study

February 9, 2016

HARRISBURG (Feb. 8, 2016) – The president of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association today urged a legislative committee to request a study to determine the appropriate level of support for State Police operations with revenue from the state’s Motor License Fund.

VanBurenHearingPSPJames Van Buren, who also is president of PennStress, a precast concrete supplier, told the House Transportation Committee that an increasing amount of revenue intended for transportation system improvements has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support the State Police and now totals $755 million, nearly two-thirds of the entire State Police budget.

Van Buren noted that under the Pennsylvania Constitution, revenue from the Motor License Fund may be used only for highway purposes. While that includes patrolling the highways, he said the amounts being diverted are far greater than the level of resources the agency devotes to highway patrols.

Click HERE to read more of the press release on the hearing.