We certainly hope that all of our coalition friends had an enjoyable and relaxing break over the holidays. As we look ahead in the New Year, we realize that there are still transportation issues that need to be addressed, so it doesn’t appear that our group will be going out of business anytime soon.
The good news is that Act 89 is providing about $1.5 billion per year for PennDOT projects that would not be moving forward otherwise. Three issues we had been working on remain to be addressed:
- Our elected leaders cannot continue to divert more than $800 million per year from the Motor License Fund to support State Police and pay for the upkeep of Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges.
- Although Congress stepped forward with a longer – yet still temporary – boost in federal highway support last year, we still must secure a sustainable, long-term funding solution at the federal level.
- In the interest of keeping everyone safe in work zones – highway workers and the traveling public alike -we need to implement automated speed enforcement similar to the program in Maryland that has reduced excessive speeding in work zones to less than 1 percent.
In addition, it behooves all of us to continue to promote the benefits of Act 89 of 2013 to reinforce to our constituencies that the measure is having a positive impact on our quality of life.
Act 89 was Pennsylvania’s first comprehensive transportation measure, supporting all modes of transportation. It’s important to recognize that its benefits greatly outweigh any shortcomings.
Be of Good Cheer,
— The Wolff
Transportation Issue Update
- State Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Avoca) says it’s time to stop the ‘shell game’ between PennDOT, the State Police and the Motor License Fund.
- PennDOT is bidding to make PA a national proving grounds for autonomous vehicles, in Pittsburgh, State College and Pocono Raceway.
- PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and divisional Federal Highway Administrator Renee Sigel were profiled for their work in a field populated largely by men.
- Governor Wolf and PennDOT have launched a new tool that will provide motorists with information when long-term road closures occur.
- The Lehigh Valley Transportation Study committee has approved a list of six regional roads that it believes are worthy of the “critical urban freight corridor” designation in the federal government’s new National Highway Freight Network.
- An article in Governing Magazine warned that public-private partnerships are not a complete solution to meeting the country’s transportation needs.
- The most prominent PA transportation articles at the end of the year were about gas prices rising due to the third and final installment of the Act 89 wholesale tax and the increased Turnpike tolls to enable the toll road to meet its funding obligations and continue a rebuilding.
- While the increased gas tax drew significant attention, its importance to commerce and the quality of life was not lost on the Erie Times-News.
- As of Jan. 1, PennDOT is no longer distributing registration stickers, saving more than $3 million per year.
- NewsWorks posted a comprehensive story on the condition of the Ohio River’s locks and dams. Bottom line: not good.
- Greater Pittsburgh Chamber President Matt Smith, in a Post-Gazette op-ed article, said waterway investment will boost the southwestern PA economy.