In late June, as the Pennsylvania legislature debated whether or not to raise the wholesale gas tax, PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch warned that he would likely have to place weight restrictions on bridges across the state in order to extend their useful life if additional funding was not allocated. Some may have thought this was just a bargaining point, but now 1,000 bridges across the state have been posted with reduced weight limits.
While several states successfully passed transportation revenue packages this year, in Pennsylvania and Washington the failure of such bills will have immediate effects on infrastructure. PennDOT is considering weight limits for bridges across the state, and the $3 billion-plus Columbia River Crossing project, that would have replaced the existing I-5 bridge, shut down.
A new report from AASHTO shows that state funding for transit has increased from $13.8 billion in FY 2007 to $13.983 billion in 2011. This funding increase is a result of 18 states increasing their public transit funding by $1.23 billion, which made up for decreases in some other states.
Demand for more accountability in the use of scarce transportation funds is pushing DOTs toward new performance measures, both to evaluate systems as whole as well as proposed projects. One key area for such analysis is economic impact, but until now agencies had no accepted toolbox – nor often the needed data or expertise – for such work. A new guide developed for SSTI by the Center for Neighborhood Technology is designed to assist DOTs as they improve their capacity for economic analysis.
As of the end of June, the SEPTA east-west subway line has started feeding electricity back into the power grid as well as using it to run its trains. With the installation of a battery bank next to the tracks, the energy generated by braking trains can be stored. The innovative pilot progam was installed at no cost to SEPTA and is generating excitement in both transit and alternative energy circles.
Smart Transportation is Pennsylvania DOT’s integrated response to the crisis of crumbling infrastructure, limited revenues to address it, and the need to better align transportation with community revitalization and sound land use policy. PennDOT was the first state program reviewed in detail by SSTI, and remains one of our prime examples of a thoughtful DOT wrestling with the challenges of fiscal austerity, sustainability, and system preservation. The review was done at the request of PennDOT to assess the effectiveness of its Smart Transportation program in integrating land use and transportation in its decision-making and to identify areas of opportunity to advance the Smart Transportation agenda.
Budget constraints and a bleak economic forecast are forcing Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania to consider new ways to fund improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure. The Governor’s advisory commission estimates that $2.7 billion is …
The Pennsylvania Transportation Funding Advisory Commission’s recent report found that “due to increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, Pennsylvania now collects less fuel tax revenue per mile traveled than it has at any time in the past. …
SSTI praised the joint efforts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in producing an exemplary Smart Transportation Guidebook when we reviewed PennDOT’s Smart Transportation program. Now a recent article by Angie Schmitt in DC Streetsblog (“From …
A new presentation from the Pennsylvania borough of Carlisle shows the approach of a smaller municipality to Smart Transportation. The Power Point can be downloaded here: [PPT]