Officials: Transportation Will Suffer With Bill’s Defeat

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commuter rail service is likely to be cut next year, and Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges will continue to deteriorate, transportation officials said Tuesday, following the narrow legislative defeat of a major transportation funding increase.

Most lawmakers from southeastern Pennsylvania supported the funding measure, but eight area Democrats and five Republicans voted against it. And a key supporter, Rep. Louise Bishop (D., Phila.), was out sick, the only legislator not voting on the measure, which was defeated 103-98 Monday night.

Supporters of the bill, which would have increased gas taxes and motorists’ fees to provide about $2.4 billion in additional funding, said negotiations were continuing Tuesday to try to revive the bill, which was one of Gov. Corbett’s key legislative priorities.

Republican opponents cited the increased taxes and fees as a prime reason for their “no” votes, while Democratic opponents said they objected to a provision that would have increased the prevailing-wage exemption on government construction projects, which some labor unions opposed.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20131120_Officials__Transportation_will_suffer_with_bill_s_defeat.html#QyFtCBDquPww1RMr.99

Price Tag For Fixing I-83 Congestion Is Out Of Reach

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re jumping onto Interstate 83 North using the New Cumberland ramp, just south of the 83 split, there’s a secret to surviving the experience.

For the uninitiated, the ramp starts at a stoplight and heads up a small hill, blindly leading drivers onto a congested, two-lane highway.  The merge zone can be measured in hands, not feet.

The key is to hammer the accelerator heading up the ramp, and whisper a silent prayer that a gold Buick isn’t stopped at the top.

If you time it right, you’ll hit highway speeds about the same time as you hit the road, which, if everything goes according to plan, allows you to slip into traffic between two tractor-trailers.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/i-83_york_split_eisenhower_int.html#incart_flyout_news

Legislators: Montco, SE Pa. Need More Transportation Funding

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is obvious.  Just try and drive to work in Montgomery County. Traffic is horrendous!

WHITEMARSH ­­— The House Democratic Policy Committee held a two-hour Wednesday morning at the township building to draw attention to the need to increase transportation funding in the region.

The general consensus among the experts offering testimony was that Pennsylvania, and Southeastern Pennsylvania in particular, needs more state funding for mass transit, road and bridge repairs.

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-148th Dist., said Whitemarsh is a center of transportation with major roadways including Germantown Pike and Ridge Pike and six train stations on the regional rail lines.  Daley moderated the hearing.

“I have been a SEPTA rider my entire life,” Daley said. “I’m not sure what it would be like to not have public transportation.  It is a really flexible system that benefits the area.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130731/NEWS03/130739823/legislators-montco-se-pa-need-more-transportation-funding#full_story

PA Turnpike To Be Widened From Valley Forge To Downingtown

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has picked a construction manager for a $480 million road-widening project between the Valley Forge and Downingtown interchanges.

Hill International of Marlton, N.J., will be paid $17.1 million to manage the project. Roadwork is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and will continue into 2020, Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said Wednesday.

The roadwork will be done in two phases, DeFebo said, beginning next summer at the Valley Forge interchange and going west for about six miles.  That work is expected to last about three years, the spokesman said.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130718/NEWS03/130719320/turnpike-to-be-widened-from-valley-forge-to-downingtown-#full_story

Without Changes, It Would Cost $50 To Cross The Turnpike By 2021

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the legislature doesn’t phase out the $450 million the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission must pay PennDOT every year, it will cost a driver $50 in tolls to cross the state within eight years, according to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

If Act 44, the 2007 bill that required the turnpike to fund bridge repair and mass transit, isn’t changed, the toll for a trip across the state would rise to $150 by 2057, DePasquale warned in a report on Turnpike debt issued Tuesday.

His report comes as the legislature is working through a massive transportation funding bill. Gov. Tom Corbett and leaders in both the House and Senate have said sunsetting Act 44 must be a part of any legislation.  If Act 44 is not phased out, Turnpike CEO Mark Compton has said the commission will have to begin scaling back its maintenance and improvement budget.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/without_changes_it_would_cost.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Pains To Bring Gains: Berks Road Project Soon To End

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When George Zeppos opened his restaurant, The Hitching Post, on Route 183 in Bern Township two years ago, there was a perpetual traffic jam between the bulk of Berks County‘s population and his dining room.

The interchange with Route 222 a little more than a half-mile south of the restaurant had been prone to backups for years.  But the usual turmoil was aggravated by construction on a new overpass and highway ramps.

PennDOT expects to be finished with the project by the end of this month, a big relief to the thousands of drivers who have sat in backups on Routes 183 and 222 since it started in April 2010.

Zeppos said business has been good despite the construction, but he’s bracing for growth when it’s over.  Crews did a great job moving traffic through, he said, but perception is tough to fight.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=475337

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl. Airport Clears Way For $50M I-81 Project

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport board on Thursday cleared the way for development of a multimillion-dollar access road project.

The board, including the commissioners of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, formally released 16.5 acres of land for the state Department of Transportation to build an access road that will extend from Interstate 81 through the airport property, overpass the Pennsylvania Turnpike and connect to the Grimes Industrial Park in Pittston Township.

“This is a big deal,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien said.  “It opens up the west end of the airport for future economic development projects.

Thirteen acres of the land will be used for the access road and the remaining 3.5 acres will be used for reconstruction of the of the airport exit along Interstate 81 in Dupont.  The project will combine the Avoca and airport exits into one and move traffic through a series of roundabouts.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/airport-clears-way-for-50m-i-81-project-1.1476011

Hazleton Police Chief Warns Business Owners To Get Their Licenses

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Kickin’ ass and takin’ names in Hazleton!  Booya!

Police Chief Frank DeAndrea is giving a warning out to businesses operating in Hazleton to have their licenses and make sure that they are in conformity to the city’s codes.

The Hazleton Police Department is going to work in unison with the city’s fire, health, code enforcement, and highway departments in a new city-wide initiative called “Operation Clean Street.”

Set to begin in a week or two, the initiative will pull all of the departments’ resources in an effort to beautify the city’s streets and crack down on delinquent businesses.

According to DeAndrea, the operation will begin at the intersection of Diamond Avenue and Wyoming Street in which the fire department will bring a truck in to hose down and wash all debris from the streets and sidewalks.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/hazleton-police-chief-warns-business-owners-to-get-their-licenses-1.1469241

Pennsylvania Transportation Performance Report 2013

Here’s basically what the report is about:

“On behalf of our “Board of Directors,” the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission (STC), please
accept this first edition of the Transportation Performance Report.  It provides a snapshot of the transportation system’s current status, performance within current resources, and potential for progress as
we move forward.  The report showcases various data and trends.  It also includes actions taken thus far
in response to the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission Report, presented to Governor Corbett
in August 2011.”

The report is very interesting and will give you a good idea of what’s going on in our state.  This will take a minute or so to download as it is a large file, but the format is nice and it’s an easy read with graphs and pictures to help illustrate what is being said.

Click here:  ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/Bureaus/Cpdm/STC/TPR%20FINAL%202-7-13.pdf

Smoother Berks Roads Ahead?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County would enjoy smoother roads and sturdier bridges if the $1.8 billion annual boost to statewide transportation funds Gov. Tom Corbett pitched last week becomes reality, local officials said.

At a minimum, the funds would stop the backlog of bridge and highway repairs needed in Berks from growing, said Alan D. Piper, county transportation planner.

But over time, PennDOT could catch up on repairs and focus on expanding traffic-prone highways such as Route 222 and the West Shore Bypass, he said.

“There’s no doubt that it will be beneficial,” Piper said. “Does it solve all our problems? Probably not. But it’s a gigantic step in the right direction.”

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=451840

Sensor Gear Helps Lancaster City Rate Streets

Picture 569Researchers spent about 10 days last summer cruising Lancaster city’s streets looking for the good, the bad and the ugly.

And, they did so looking straight down.

The specially equipped van carried laser-guided sensors that recorded details of every inch of the 110 miles of city streets, 10 miles of city-owned alleyways and the 20 miles of state roads that cut through the city.

The result of the collected data is the city’s first pavement management plan.

The plan lists the city streets and ranks them by which ones most need repair and repaving.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/811319_Sensor-gear-helps-Lancaster-city-rate-streets.html#ixzz2K3prMFwe

PennDOT Unveils Upgrade To Interstate 78

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A major section of Interstate 78 in northern Berks County will be upgraded under a PennDOT plan unveiled Thursday night at a public meeting in Greenwich Elementary School.

The Krumsville Interchange Project, a $140 million initiative, is aimed at increasing safety on an 8-mile section of the interstate from Lenhartsville east to the Berks-Lehigh county line, officials said.

Ronald J. Young Jr., PennDOT spokesman, said construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 and last about three years.

“It’s designed to improve safety and emergency access,” Young said. “Fatalities on this section are 40 percent higher than average, and the crash rate is 71 percent higher.”

Read more:

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=444438

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Eye Private Sector Role In Transportation Projects

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  It’s about time we look to the private sector for solutions.  Government gets in the way!

Something has to give.

Pennsylvania has far more transportation projects that need to get done than it has money for. In fact, the state is facing a $3.5 billion shortfall in government funding for transportation.

And since an overhaul in funding methods is unlikely to happen overnight at the federal or state level, Pennsylvania lawmakers are looking to what they say could be baby steps toward a fix.

One proposal in Harrisburg would allow the private sector to invest in Pennsylvania’s transportation system through an arrangement called a public-private partnership, or P3.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=395997

New Jersey Raising Tolls 50 Percent – OUCH!

English: Map of the Garden State Parkway

Image via Wikipedia

NEWARK, N.J. – The new year will bring something that’s become old hat for New Jersey residents: more costs associated with driving.

For the second time in three years, toll rates will rise on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. The latest increases go into effect on New Year’s Day and compute to about 50 percent on both highways.

They come just four months after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey raised toll rates on bridges and tunnels into New York by 50 percent and five months after the Delaware River Port Authority increased tolls into Philadelphia by 25 percent.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20111231_As_bells_toll_in_the_new_year__N_J__road_tolls_will_rise.html

Pottstown’s High Street Bridge Replacement Progress

Here are some pictures of the High Street Bridge, which is being replaced, so you can see the progress that has been made to date.  Looks like things are moving along well.  You can see how they have made a portable dam around the support beam.

Pennsylvania Infrastructure Funding Shortfall May Force ‘Tough Decisions’

Interesting article from the Centre Daily Times regarding what will happen to our roads with the end of the federal stimulus dollars and the defeat of tolling Interstate 80.  Some tough decisions are ahead on how to fund everything that needs to be done!

via State infrastructure funding shortfall may force ‘tough decisions’ – Local | Centre Daily Times – State College, PA | Penn State, Nittany Lions, weather, news, jobs, homes, apartments, real estate.