Just as we were sitting down to write this newsletter, we received word that the Republican Transportation chair, Sen. Kim Ward, has been elected Senate majority leader, joining newly elected Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman at the top of the chamber’s Republican Caucus.
While having a transportation advocate as the majority leader is a favorable development for our Coalition, we will miss having her as Transportation Committee chair. We wish her the best as she steps into her new role.
In House leadership news, Rep. Martina White was elected Republican Caucus Secretary. Coalition members will recall that she chaired the House task force that identified various transportation funding solutions in this soon-to-be-completed legislative session.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- PennDOT joined local officials at a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the near-completion of the Route 322 project near the village of Potters Mills.
- PennDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration invite rail stakeholders and the public to provide input on the draft Pennsylvania State Rail Plan during two virtual public meetings on Nov. 16 and 17.
- Politico mused about what a president with a railroad in his nickname, “Amtrak” Joe Biden, would mean for transportation.
- In related news, the federal government is sending $15.9 million to Pennsylvania to upgrade railroad signals along the Keystone Line.
- Pennsylvania secured $6 million in federal funding for the resumption of environmental and engineering studies associated with upgrading the last two-lane section of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County to a four-lane limited-access highway.
- The Reason Foundation is suggesting that Pennsylvania could receive a substantial up-front payment in exchange for turning management of the PA Turnpike over to a private firm, despite the sizeable increase in debt the toll road has incurred in recent years.
- PennDOT and the Turnpike participated in a demonstration of truck “platooning,” in which a single driver controls multiple trucks, in this case traveling from Pittsburgh, through Ohio, to Michigan.