More People Moving To Lehigh Valley, More Leaving Northwest New Jersey, Census Data Show

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the latest U.S. Census Bureau data are any indication, the Delaware River is the great divider between growth and decline in this region’s population.

More people are moving out of Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey while more are moving into Northampton and Lehigh counties in Pennsylvania.

The Census Bureau this morning released county-by-county population estimates for last year. The data show both New Jersey counties lost population; both Pennsylvania counties gained population. This pattern has continued for three straight years, the data show.

Births outpaced deaths in all four counties; the population changes are instead tied to people migrating to or emigrating out of the counties, according to the census.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/03/more_people_moving_to_lehigh_v.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Many Fees For Pennsylvania Vehicles Set To rise On April 1

Several state vehicle-related fees will increase April 1 for the first time in 17 years, with a second group of fees slated to rise July 1.

The increases are mandated by Act 89, the transportation funding legislation that was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.

“It’s important to note that Act 89 represents an investment in Pennsylvania’s future: increasing public safety, driving commerce, creating jobs and providing reliable funding for our transportation needs without leaving the bill to our future generations,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1277003/Many-fees-for-Pa.-vehicles-set-to-rise-on-April-1

Enhanced by Zemanta

York Public Transportation To Improve With Bill

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

The aging fleet of public transportation buses in York County will get a boost from the recently passed state transportation bill, as could Rabbit Transit‘s plans for a fleet conversion from diesel to natural gas.

Rabbit Transit CEO Richard Farr said the $2.3 billion package “couldn’t be passed a moment too soon,” as about 64 percent of the organization’s 87-vehicle fleet is beyond its useful life or will be in 2014.

That means they’ve surpassed 12 years of age or 600,000 miles, “and we have vehicles with mileage as high as 900,000 miles,” he said.

The old buses are more expensive to maintain, to the tune of an extra $600,000 per year, he said, and in recent months two of them had to be retired because the frames are cracked beyond repair, making them unsafe to haul passengers.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24801596/york-public-transportation-improve-bill

With House Passage, All Are Aboard State Transportation Bill

Pennsylvania state map county outlines

Pennsylvania state map county outlines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Billions in new taxes and spending for roads, bridges and mass transit in Pennsylvania comfortably cleared a final legislative hurdle Thursday with a bipartisan vote to send a long-stalled bill to the governor.

The state House voted 113-85 to tax gasoline and raise motorist fees over five years to generate at least $2.3 billion in annual additional funding.

Gov. Tom Corbett said in brief remarks at an appearance with a few dozen legislators that he perceived an urgent need to address transportation infrastructure after taking office three years ago.

He said passage of the vote showed leadership and mentioned concerns about public safety several times.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519891

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

Scranton, Wilkes-Barre Area Roads Among Bottom Third In Mid-Sized Cities Nationally

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A national research group ranked the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area’s roads among the bottom third of the nation’s mid-sized cities.

More specifically, TRIP ranked both cities and the surrounding suburban areas 17th worst among 62 urban regions with populations between 250,000 and 500,000.

Thirty-two percent of the region’s roads are “in poor condition and provide a rough ride,” according to the report that TRIP released Thursday.

The average motorist in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area pays $539 annually in vehicle maintenance costs related to the substandard roads, which TRIP ranked 18th nationally.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-wilkes-barre-area-roads-among-bottom-third-in-mid-sized-cities-nationally-1.1563220

Governor Would Sign Transportation Bills

HARRISBURG, PA – Amid Pennsylvania’s stalled debate over how to raise more money for highways and transit agencies, state Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch said Friday that Gov. Tom Corbett would sign either of two plans that have led debate in the legislature.

Corbett has not to date publicly endorsed any specific transportation funding plan in the Legislature after a $1.8 billion plan he released in February failed to gain much traction with lawmakers.

But a new willingness by the governor to embrace either bill is a sign that he is no longer willing to let disagreement over some elements of each bill stop him from making it law.

“He wants a transportation bill on his desk,” Schoch said. “What passes both parts of the Legislature I believe he’ll sign.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514833

Pa. Suburbs May Get Red-Light Cameras For 1st Time

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, PA (AP) – A community just north of Philadelphia could become the first suburb in the state to install red-light cameras under a new law allowing the devices to be used outside Pennsylvania’s largest city.

Township commissioners in Abington voted 14-1 last week to install the devices at three busy intersections, according to the Bucks County Courier Times (http://bit.ly/1aLzeDO). The plan still requires a final green light from the state Department of Transportation.

For the past eight years, Philadelphia has been the only place in Pennsylvania where surveillance cameras can snap pictures of cars that fail to stop at red lights.  Scofflaws are fined $100.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130915_ap_7992b265fe6a44cc988f7b3c1ed8aa49.html#EdSIqsZhe7E1At6q.99

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Deficient Bridges Won’t Be Quick Fix

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly one of every four bridges in Northeastern Pennsylvania is structurally deficient, a Times-Shamrock Newspapers analysis found.

And, because of decades of neglect, repairing those bridges “will take years to catch up,” a local transportation expert said – even if state lawmakers approve a transportation bill this fall.

“Once a bridge gets to be 50 to 60 years old, you can’t go in and just patch it,” Thomas Lawson, co-chairman of the Focus 81 Committee, said.

Interactive: Search for the most deficient bridges in NEPA

Instead, numerous bridges around the region, which has more deteriorating bridges than the state average, will require superstructure overhauls “at minimum,” he said.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/region-s-deficient-bridges-won-t-be-quick-fix-1.1520394

Mother Of Montoursville Flight 800 Victim Surprised At New Crash Cause Claim

This photograph is part of the National Transp...

This photograph is part of the National Transportation Safety Board accident report for TWA Flight 800. The date on the photograph shows as May 20, 1997. It is figure 29 of the report, which is described as: A photograph of the large three-dimensional reconstruction, with the support scaffolding visible. Uploaded at full size as pulled from the report. URL of this report: http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2000/AAR0003.pdf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONTOURSVILLE — Claims of proof that the cause of the TWA Flight 800 crash in 1996 was an external detonation comes as a surprised to a mother of one of the 21 people from Montoursville, Pa., who died aboard the plane.

Irenay Weaver, whose daughter Monica was one of the 16 Montoursville High School students killed, said she was feeling disbelief upon learning Wednesday that former investigators of the crash are making that claim in a documentary that’s slated to be released next month.

Weaver questioned why people will not let it go.

“We’ve let it go,” she said of the victims’ families. “I don’t think we will ever know (the cause.).”

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/mother_of_montoursville_flight.html#/0

PA Senate Passes $2.5 Billion Transportation Funding Package

Four months after hearing Gov. Tom Corbett’s call for a transportation funding plan in his budget address to the Legislature, the Senate delivered one mightily.

By a 45-5 vote, the Senate today approved a transportation funding plan that not only raises the $1.8 billion by 2018 that Corbett wanted.  It goes $700 million beyond that.

The measure now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.  Its fate is uncertain in the House because of the cost implications on consumers.

All midstate senators voted in favor of the legislation.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/senate_passes_25_billion_trans.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Tax On Airline Flights Could Increase

The cost of flying might be going up, but this time it’s not the airlines raising prices.

The Obama administration has proposed raising the taxes on air travel by about $14 per flight, a move airlines strongly oppose.

Higher taxes are needed to help reduce the deficit, pay for improvements at the nation’s airports and add thousands of new immigration and customs officers to reduce wait times to process foreign visitors, the administration says.

Airlines say higher taxes will backfire and hurt the economy.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-fi-travel-briefcase-20130527,0,2840007.story

Study Confirms Poverty Hits The Suburbs, Too

Say poverty in the Philadelphia area, and it conjures images of North Philadelphia or Kensington, not the suburbs.

But the suburbs on both sides of the Delaware River are becoming steadily poorer, part of a national trend that confounds long-held beliefs that life is always better in greener pastures beyond urban limits.

“People have this cliched notion of poverty being based in the inner city,” said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, which has offices in Trenton and North Jersey.  “But it’s been moving into suburbia for some time.

“No one wants to think that their neighbors are becoming poor.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130520_Study_confirms_poverty_hits_the_suburbs__too.html#jtGAhiCISV3muuo1.99

Changing Skyline: Philly Steering Toward Bike Sharing

Philadelphia didn’t need Bicycling magazine to confirm that it is one of America’s best biking cities (No. 17 on its 2012 list).  You can see it every day on the streets:

Near northeast corner, May 2005.

Near northeast corner, May 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The steady stream of commuters sluicing down Center City‘s bike lanes.  The tangle of bikes hitched to U-shaped racks and bike corrals.  (More, please.)  The proliferation of neighborhood bike shops.

Philadelphia probably could have ranked higher in the magazine’s esteem if it had a bike-sharing program, like most of the list’s top 20 cities.  You can now find cheap, on-street bike rentals in more than 135 places around the world, many of them with worse weather and hillier streets than Philadelphia.  Yet the city has remained strangely ambivalent toward the concept, even as private bikes have become a popular transit option within the city.

But the sight of Mayor Nutter tooling around Rittenhouse Square last week on a canary-yellow cruiser suggests Philadelphia is finally ready to commit.  To show the city’s seriousness, his Transportation Department organized a daylong bike-sharing demonstration with three top vendors, supplying a docking-station’s worth of bikes in paint-box colors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20130510_Changing_Skyline__City_steering_toward_bike_sharing.html#oeXi4rzPYwBAAXdv.99

NEPA Lagging In Bicyclist-Friendly Roadways

WILKES-BARRE — The desire for more bicycle-friendly paths in Luzerne County — from lanes on roads to other areas designated specifically for cyclists — is strong, according to enthusiasts.

The ability to implement them, many advocates have found, is not as robust.  Cycling enthusiasts say Northeastern Pennsylvania is behind the times in welcoming

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to share the road, even though they have a legal right in the commonwealth.

“We’re way behind the rest of the world as far as having the facilities to be able to ride, especially on the road,” said Louie Colarusso, a bike technician at Sickler’s Bike and Sport Shop in Exeter.  “The majority of cities in America have bike lanes, and in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton you’re taking your life in your hands every time.”

Phil Cable, store manager of Sickler’s, said he lives in the borough and bikes to work when possible.  Drivers are generally friendly, but sharing the road is a two-way street.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/444128/NEPA-lagging-in-bicyclist-friendly-roadways

Pennsylvania: Life Is Good, Despite Some Concerns

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A majority of Pennsylvanians back the gun control measures endorsed by the White House, and nearly as many support the National Rifle Association proposal to put armed guards in schools.

On pocketbook matters, angst is growing.  A majority have a negative view of Pennsylvania’s economy, and satisfaction with family income fell 10 percentage points from last year, according to The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College 2013 Pennsylvania Quality of Life survey.

John Geist, a 62-year-old from South Whitehall Township, is a Pennsylvanian who falls into both categories.

Geist used to consider himself middle class, but he was laid off when his company outsourced and had to settle for another manufacturing job earning substantially less.  It was the second time in his life he’d lost his job through no fault of his own.

Read more:

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-quality-of-life-poll-guns-20130216,0,6655627.story

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

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

AAA Survey: Pennsylvania Residents Want Better Roads — At No Cost

HARRISBURG — An overwhelming percentage of Pennsylvania residents are likely to support an upcoming proposal from Gov. Tom Corbett to invest in the state’s roads and bridges.

According to a pair of surveys completed by AAA Mid-Atlantic last year, 88 percent of Pennsylvanians believe the state’s highways need work.  After months of behind-the-scenes planning, Corbett is preparing to announce a $2 billion transportation funding package aimed at doing exactly that, according to an Associated Press report Wednesday.

But the AAA survey reveals something about government services:  Everyone wants things to be better; no one wants to pay for it.

Less than half of those surveyed by AAA – 44 percent – said they would be willing to pay an extra $2.50 per week to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130117/NEWS03/130119467/aaa-survey-pa-residents-want-better-roads–at-no-cost#full_story

Gas Prices Falling This Holiday Season

Falling gas prices have brought a little bit of holiday cheer at the gas pump where many in the region had grumbled while the price of unleaded hovered around the $4 mark.

The average price of unleaded regular has dropped to $3.75 a gallon in the Buffalo area, down from $3.89 a month ago, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas price trends across the country.  Nationally, the average price was down to $3.27 a gallon as of Saturday.

The downward trend can be attributed to two things, according to Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/sns-mct-gas-prices-falling-this-holiday-season-20121216,0,1755611.story