All told, the response to the blizzard of Jan. 22 and 23 was remarkable and praiseworthy, despite its greater-than-expected punch to the Keystone State.
PennDOT crews received kudos from Governor Wolf and other political leaders for an outstanding response, not just on state roadways but in lending a hand to several local governments as well.
The Turnpike Commission has launched an examination into events that stranded about 500 vehicles on the toll road for 24 hours. News reports said a truck attempting to pass another truck in an unauthorized lane. Emergency responders helped assure that those stranded were able to withstand the ordeal.
In any event, the storm certainly left us looking forward to spring. Let’s hope that whistle pig, Punxsutawney Phil, is correct that it will be sooner rather than later.
Transportation Issue Update
- Governor Wolf was effusive in his praise for snow removal crews, emergency responders and residents alike in the aftermath of the Jan. 22-23 blizzard.
- PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards told the Senate Transportation Committee that the state will fall about $6 billion short of being able to fund all the projects legislators promised their constituents during passage of Act 89, the transportation funding bill of 2013. One of the reasons is the drastically increasing amount of revenue diverted from the Motor License Fund.
- After several years of declines, traffic fatalities are beginning to rise again, in part because motorists are driving more in an improved economy.
- Yassmin Gramian, a senior vice president of HNTB Corporation, wrote an op-ed article in the Patriot News lauding the recent passage of a federal transportation funding measure, but she said more needs to be done to assure that our transportation infrastructure is up to snuff.
- Joe Kirk, executive director of the Mon Valley Progress Council, wrote an op-ed article in the Post-Gazette on the benefits of the Mon-Fayette Expressway project.
- As the final year of the Obama Administration begins, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is pushing cities to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, hosting a “Smart City” competition to showcase how technology can improve transportation, and doling out money from a new five-year, $305 billion federal transportation package.
- On a related note, Secretary Foxx posted a blog about the DOT’s 50th anniversary celebration. You can read and/or subscribe to his blog at this link.
- Bucks County will join a growing number of counties seeking to impose a $5 add-on to vehicle registration fees to fund local transportation projects.
- The Patriot News took an in-depth look at the long and expensive process of building new exits on Interstate Highways.
- State Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery), a member of the House Transportation Committee, has authored a bill that would allow PennDOT to suspend the registration of a driver who had six unpaid toll violations on the Turnpike, or more than $500 in fines over three years. The bill was prompted by the Pennsylvania Turnpike reporting in May, the end of its fiscal year, $33.5 million in unpaid E-ZPass tolls.
- The York Adams Transportation Authority (YATA), which does business as rabbittransit, became the Central Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (CPTA) as the secretary of state granted approval on Dec. 15.