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

Survey: Chester County Residents Upbeat But Hate Traffic, High Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

Chester County residents like the county’s open space and scenery, but also value highly its proximity to metropolitan areas. They use its libraries and parks like gangbusters, and are confident its 911 and emergency response systems.

They do not, however, like the traffic and road conditions they encounter or the taxes they pay.  They wish the county government would do more to help create job and business opportunities and manage the suburban sprawl that continues to plague the countryside.

In general, county residents see they place they live as an excellent place to raise a family, get a good education, and buy a home — even if they have a sense that it might not live up to the same expectations when looking to retire, open a business, or find a job.

Those, in part, are the results of a unique survey done to assess the quality of life in Chester County, completed earlier this summer by the Center for Social & Economic Policy Research at West Chester University.  The survey results follow up on a similar project completed in 2009 by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130729/NEWS01/130729442/survey-chester-county-residents-upbeat-but-hate-traffic-high-taxes#full_story

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

Pennsylvania Transportation Chief: Bridges To Get Weight Limits

In the weeks leading up to the state budget deadline, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch threatened to put weight limits on 1,120 bridges if Gov. Tom Corbett’s plans to raise new revenue for road and bridge repair were not approved.

But on Sunday, the Legislature did what Schoch feared.  It approved a 2013-14 budget that left Corbett’s proposal in the dust.

As a result, the transportation chief plans to make good on his threat, according to PennDOT officials.

Twenty-six of the identified spans are in Lehigh or Northampton counties, including the Route 22 bridge over the Lehigh River in Whitehall Township.

Weight limits can preclude heavy trucks, fire engines and even school buses from using bridges, depending on bridge size and capacity.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-bridge-weight-restrictons-20130705,0,7683963.story#ixzz2YHLsv9iS
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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

Pennsylvania’s Bad Roads Costly To Drivers

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

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

Two out of every three major urban roads in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region are in poor or mediocre condition, underscoring the transportation dilemma the state faces, according to a report released Wednesday by a national transportation organization.

And using those roads is costing the average driver an additional $1,320 per year in extra vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays.

The report, “Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Pennsylvania:

• Thirty seven percent of major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/554650/Pa.s-bad-roads-costly-to-drivers

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

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

More Metal Thieves!

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

 A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the theft of 50 sections of guard rail stolen last week from a Berks County township.

State police in Reading said the guard rail was stolen between 1:41 a.m. and 2:04 a.m. March 5 from the Union Township Municipal Authority’s property at 177 Center Road.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-guard-rails-stolen-in-berks-county-20120312,0,3083637.story

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.


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.