Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) has submitted its report to Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly.
You can read PennDOT's press release here and you can read President and CEO Rebecca Oyler's full response here, but an excerpt is below.
“TROC was given a list of potential taxes and fees to increase to close PennDOT’s funding gap, and PMTA is disappointed to see the final report essentially recommends ‘all of the above,’ without weighing the unintended consequences of many of these increases, particularly for commercial motor vehicles.
“The final report should not be viewed as a comprehensive plan that balances various state interests to fund our transportation system,” Oyler said. “Instead, TROC’s report is a list of potential options, among others, that can be considered by members of the General Assembly as they weigh the consequences of policy choices and their impact on the state’s economy.”
Funding options in the report include:
Road Use Charges
Redirection of Funding
“I was honored to have served on the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) and appreciate Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian recognizing the important perspective the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association brings to this critical conversation,” said Rebecca Oyler, President and CEO.
“Pennsylvania roads and bridges are our workplaces, so we know how important it is to ensure sustainable funding to keep our infrastructure up-to-date and in good repair. However, we have to recognize that there are tradeoffs that come with every funding option, and serious consideration must be given to the real-world impacts of the recommendations. The final report lacks this analysis.
“Pennsylvania is already the third most expensive state in the nation in which to operate a truck. Doubling registration fees, increasing fuel and vehicle sales taxes, and tolling interstates will likely be enough to put us in first place, not to mention the other cost increases on the list. This dubious distinction would make it nearly impossible for Pennsylvania trucking companies to compete with those in other states. It will also increase costs across the board for in-state manufacturers, farmers, other businesses, and consumers that rely on trucks to transport their goods. Unintended consequences like this are not addressed by the TROC report.
“The final report should not be viewed as a comprehensive plan that balances various state interests to fund our transportation system,” Oyler said. “Instead, TROC’s report is a list of potential options, among others, that can be considered by members of the General Assembly as they weigh the consequences of policy choices and their impact on the state’s economy.” Funding options in the report include:
The TROC report proposes a phased approach with near-, medium-, and long-term proposals to address shortfalls in funding levels. To address declines in fuel tax revenues over time, the report calls for a Mileage Based User Fee (MBUF) in the long term to fully align revenues with identified needs of $18.15 billion – requiring an additional $9.5 billion annually within the next five years to close the projected gap.
“Such a drastic increase in funding for infrastructure over a short period of time may outstrip the capacity of our industries to manage these projects, especially with the current labor shortage affecting many, trucking included,” said Oyler. “This must be weighed against the extensive tax and fee increases included in the recommendations. A more balanced approach would advance revenue strategies as capacity grows.”
PMTA continues to be concerned about the lack of transparency and oversight in PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership process, which has been used to pursue tolling of nine bridges across the state. PMTA supports Senator Wayne Langerholc’s (R-Cambria) SB 382, which would require P3 projects to undergo a full public review process and legislative approval. This would require the TROC’s recommended corridor tolling and managed lane tolling to be fully and transparently considered before being implemented.
PMTA looks forward to continuing discussions with the administration and the General Assembly on ensuring responsible and sustainable funding for our transportation infrastructure without disproportionately impacting industries as critical to the state economy as trucking.
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces an opportunity to apply for $3 million in grants offered through the Truck and Bus Fleet Grant Program (Program) (formerly Class 8 Truck and Transit Bus Grant Program), one of the programs under the Driving PA Forward Initiative. This funding is available for eligible diesel emission reduction projects that will improve air quality and protect public health and the environment by reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and engines.
The Department is seeking applications for projects that will replace or repower eligible diesel-powered Class 4—8 trucks, school buses, shuttle buses or transit buses. The majority of the fleet's annual operation time must occur within this Commonwealth. Public and private entities that operate eligible diesel-powered vehicles throughout the State should apply. These entities may include school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, State agencies, nonprofit entities, corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in this Commonwealth, air quality or transportation organizations, and metropolitan or rural planning organizations.
The Department will not reimburse grant recipients for project costs incurred prior to the grant performance period set forth in the applicable grant agreement.
The Program guidelines and application instructions are available on the Department's Driving PA Forward webpage at www.depgis.state.pa.us/DrivingPAForward/ or by contacting the Bureau of Air Quality (Bureau) at [email protected] or (717) 787-9495.
A recorded presentation providing an overview of the Program and application process will be available on the Department's Driving PA Forward web site during the application period. Applicants can contact the Bureau at [email protected] or (717) 787-9495 with questions or to request clarification about the presentation or Program documents.
Applications must be submitted online through the Commonwealth's Electronic Single Application web site, eGrants, at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx. Applications are now being accepted. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on October 9, 2021, at which time the Department will review and score applications.
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) announces an opportunity to apply for $6 million in rebates offered through the Onroad Rebate Program (Program), one of the programs under the Driving PA Forward Initiative. This funding is available for diesel vehicle replacement and repower projects that will improve air quality and protect public health and the environment by reducing emissions from older diesel vehicles.
The Department is seeking applications for projects that will replace or repower eligible diesel-powered Class 4—8 trucks, school buses, shuttle buses or transit buses. The new vehicles or engines may be powered by clean diesel, electric, natural gas, propane or other alternative fuels. Eligible applicants include school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, other State agencies, nonprofit entities, corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in this Commonwealth, air quality or transportation organizations, and metropolitan or rural planning organizations.
The Department will not reimburse rebate recipients for project costs incurred prior to the date of the rebate application, unless otherwise noted.
Applications must be submitted online through the Commonwealth's Electronic Single Application web site, eGrants, at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx. The application period for this round of funding is now open. The Department will close the application period following the issuance of $6 million in vouchers, or at 4 p.m. on November 12, 2021, whichever occurs first. The Department will accept, review and approve completed applications for rebates on a first-come, first-served basis.
HARRISBURG, PA. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) approved a 5% toll increase for 2022 for both E-ZPass and TOLL BY PLATE customers on July 6. The increase is slated to start at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2022 and will be effective across the entire system except on the Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576) west of Pittsburgh.
E-ZPass drivers will continue to receive the lowest toll rates across the PA Turnpike, with some customers saving nearly 60%. Non-E-ZPass customers can now download the PA TOLL PAY smartphone app to create an autopay account and receive 15% savings on their monthly TOLL BY PLATE invoices.
Like all previous annual increases since 2009, the measure is generally required to meet escalating debt-service costs resulting from the PTC’s payments to the Commonwealth of PA for transit operations under Pennsylvania Acts 44 and 89. This year, however, there is one significant difference: Under those statutes, the PTC plans to make its final annual payment of $450 million later this month.
“Today’s action is the first time in six years that the rate of increase is under 6%,” explained PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Starting in July 2022, our transit funding requirement to PennDOT under Act 44 of 2007 will be cut to $50 million annually. Finally, we are seeing a light at the end of this very long tunnel. In addition to breathing a huge sigh of relief ourselves, it enables us to begin to offer some relief to customers from those heftier toll increases and refocus on essential improvements to our roadway.”
Beginning in July 2022, the $400 million in annual transit funding that had been provided by the PTC will be funded by the Commonwealth’s Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (MVSUT) as prescribed by Act 89 of 2013.
Act 89, however, does not eliminate the Commission’s debt, future debt service or funding obligation. Even with this much-needed relief, the PTC is still responsible for annual payments to PennDOT of $50 million until June 2057, and it must continue to pay down debt incurred from previous borrowing needed to fund Act 44 payments.
“The Act 44 sunsetting spelled out in Act 89 of 2013 is critical if the PTC is to remain fiscally sound as an organization and for the economic vitality of Turnpike-connected communities,” Compton explained. “But it’s important for customers understand that, even with the reduced obligation, we are still looking at annual toll increases of 5% from through 2025, 4% in 2026, 3.5% in 2027, then 3% annually from 2028 to 2050.”
Because of borrowing required by the Act 44 funding plan, the PTC currently has annual Act 44 debt-service obligations of nearly $400 million. Due to the terms of these bonds, the PTC’s Act 44 debt service will continue to rise even though borrowing has ended. Act 44 debt service will grow to an annual maximum of nearly $600 million by 2038 before it starts to decrease.
Because of today’s action, the most-common toll for a passenger vehicle next year will increase from $1.60 to $1.70 for E-ZPass customers and from $3.90 to $4.10 for TOLL BY PLATE customers. The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $13 to $13.70 for E-ZPass and from $26.60 to $28 for TOLL BY PLATE. The cashless toll for a passenger vehicle at the westbound Delaware River Bridge will increase from $6.10 to $6.50 for E-ZPass customers and from $8.20 to $8.70 for those who use PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE.
The PTC also approved the toll-rate schedule for the opening of the Southern Beltway slated for October. Tolls for the Southern Beltway will include the application of the 45% additional charge that is in place on the Turnpike system. However, there will be no January 2022 toll increase for the Southern Beltway.
The PTC first started making Act 44 payments to PennDOT in August 2007. It has increased tolls annually since 2009, providing $7.45 billion in toll-backed funding to PennDOT in 14 years.
After the 2022 increase is applied, E-ZPass and TOLL BY PLATES rates for both passenger and commercial vehicles will round up to the next dime. The PTC will post a 2022 trip calculator and toll schedule online this fall. Visit https://www.paturnpike.com/toll/tollmileage.aspx.
King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today joined the Pennsylvania State Police and municipal police departments to kick off a statewide aggressive driving mobilization that runs through August 22.
The enforcement wave will focus on red light running, tailgating, pedestrian safety, and heavy truck violations. State police, along with over 80 municipal police departments from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, will take part in the wave to target motorists exhibiting other unsafe behaviors such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or other aggressive actions will also be cited.
Law enforcement will use traffic enforcement zones, saturation patrols, speed enforcement details, corridor enforcement, work zone enforcement, and multi-jurisdictional patrol strategies to identify and cite aggressive drivers.
Municipal police agencies that participated in last year’s campaign wrote 43,349 citations, including 22,353 for speeding, 1,003 for occupant protection violations, 3,077 for red light violations, and 126 impaired driving arrests.
The enforcement is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project. It is funded by part of the department’s investment of federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you encounter an aggressive driver, PennDOT offers these tips:
To learn more about aggressive driving and other PennDOT safety initiatives, visit www.penndot.gov/safety.
PennDOT’s media center offers resources for safety organizations, community groups, or others who share safety information with their stakeholders. Social-media-sized graphics highlighting topics such as seat belts, impaired driving, and distracted driving can be found online at www.PennDOT.gov in the “Media Center” under the “About Us” footer.
This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 11-17 with an emphasis on speeding. During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky driving behaviors in or around a commercial motor vehicle. Identified unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning.
“Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors,” said Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.”
CVSA selected speeding as its focus this year because despite a drop in roadway travel last year due to the pandemic, nationally, traffic fatalities increased. According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) preliminary estimates, the estimated rate of death on roads last year increased 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%. The increase in the rate of death is the highest estimated year-over-year jump NSC has calculated in 96 years.
In addition to speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other dangerous driver behaviors throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, such as reckless or aggressive driving, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices, failure to use a seat belt, evidence of drunk or drugged driving, etc.
CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and with support from the motor carrier industry and transportation safety organizations. This initiative aims to improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies.
To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety in your area.
HARRISBURG – Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, is outraged by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Major Bridge Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) Initiative.
“We worked through the entire month of June to negotiate the 2021-22 budget with the Wolf Administration, and now we are being blindsided by PennDOT’s knee-jerk announcement to accept bids for tolling existing bridges on the interstate system. The ink is still drying on the budget that allocated $279 million in new spending for projects, and PennDOT’s response is to continue down a dangerous pathway with a haphazard bridge tolling plan for 30 years. The General Assembly has no answers from PennDOT on the size, scope and diversionary impact of this risky P3 bridge tolling scheme. PennDOT’s mentality is to continue spending frivolously and to operate without transparency, public input and legislative oversight. This must end.”
Senator Langerholc held several public hearings and press conferences to call on PennDOT to end the privatization of nine major bridges on the interstate system. The Senate of Pennsylvania passed Senate Bill 382 (Langerholc) to terminate the P3 bridge tolling initiative, which is pending consideration by the House of Representatives.
The DRIVE SMART Act is Senator Langerholc’s short-term and long-term plan to overhaul the Commonwealth’s transportation system by reforming and investing in our roads and bridges, public transportation, airports, passenger rail and active transportation. The comprehensive plan calls for innovative federal financing as a better alternative to PennDOT’s bridge tolling initiative.
Harrisburg, PA – The state’s Public-Private Transportation Partnership Office is inviting the private sector to submit their qualifications to compete for the opportunity to enter into a progressive public-private partnership (P3) with PennDOT to administer the Major Bridge P3 Initiative.
“While we’re reaching out to the public and evaluating the candidate bridges for this initiative, we’ve seen significant private-sector interest in this program,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “This initiative will quickly address and fully pay for badly needed work on important interstate bridges and make work on other projects possible.”
The private development entity chosen for the P3 will enter into a pre-development agreement to design, build, finance, and maintain one or more bridge packages. Each package will include select bridges and associated infrastructure, including tolling infrastructure, gantry structures and toll buildings for each bridge. The department continues to evaluate and conduct public involvement and environmental reviews on the candidate bridges announced for consideration in February.
Interested proposers must submit an electronic copy of their statement of qualifications to design, build, finance, and maintain major interstate or expressway bridges and associated roadway and tolling infrastructure to PennDOT Public-Private Transportation Partnership Office as instructed in the Request for Qualifications document by 11:00 AM on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. Parties can view submission requirements on the “Major Bridges Program” page at www.P3.pa.gov.
The project was approved by the state’s P3 Board on Nov. 12, 2020, and since then PennDOT has hosted three industry forums to educate potential, private-sector stakeholders on the scope and requirements. This is in addition to public outreach being conducted for the PennDOT Pathways transportation funding initiative, National Environmental Policy Act requirements for each candidate bridge, and varied legislative and stakeholder engagement.
Act 88 of 2012, the state’s transportation P3 law, allows PennDOT and other state agencies, transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining and financing transportation-related projects. The law created the seven-member Public Private Transportation Partnership Board, appointed to examine and approve potential public-private transportation projects. Upon board approval, the department or appropriate transportation agency can advertise a competitive RFP and enter into a contract with a company to completely or partially deliver the transportation-related service or project.
To learn more about P3 in Pennsylvania, visit www.P3.pa.gov.
Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.gov/news or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot/.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alexis Campbell, [email protected], 717-783-8800
While the road to ATA’s National Truck Driving Championships may be different this year, we are still recognizing and celebrating our industry heroes – truck drivers.
The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association will be participating in this year’s Battle of the States virtual knowledge competition on July 31, where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the state competition, compete to be named the National Battle of the States: Virtual Truck Driving Grand Champion, and win great prizes!
Our state-level trivia contests will be based on Facts for Drivers, federal and state laws, state trucking history and culture and will lead to the National Battle of the States. To qualify for the August 14 Grand Championship, you must place in the top 10 of your state's competition, as you would for a live NTDC.
The prizes for the state level event include a 65 inch flat screen TV, Hershey Park Tickets and other cash prizes. Registration is just $10 but the normal TDC requirements for entry are still in place.
To register, click here,
CAMP HILL, PA. – The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association is excited to welcome the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit to Harrisburg on Friday, June 18. The MEE will be at Mission BBQ on Jonestown Road in Harrisburg from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
“The goal of the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit is to bring community together and teach patriotism while remembering the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America.
In addition to the MEE’s interactive exhibits, there will be a brief commemoration at noon honoring veterans that served in the Vietnam War. In addition to PMTA and WAA representatives, US Congressman Scott Perry and State Representative Andrew Lewis will also be in attendance and provide remarks.
PMTA will also honor trucking companies that participate in WAA’s Honor Fleet, delivering wreaths across the country to be placed in veteran cemeteries.
“We are tremendously grateful to those who have served our country,” said Rebecca Oyler, President and CEO of PMTA, “and we were delighted when we were presented with the opportunity to bring Wreaths Across America and the Mobile Education Exhibit to Harrisburg. Wreaths Across America is an outstanding program that honors the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and fallen heroes. We are proud to have members that recognize this and support them in their mission.”
Wreaths Across America is the non-profit organization best known for placing wreaths on veterans’ headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. However, in 2020 alone, the organization placed more than 1.7 million sponsored veterans’ wreaths at 2,557 participating locations nationwide.
The commemoration will include a welcome home ceremony for registered Vietnam veterans. Wreaths Across America has been a Commemorative Partner in the congressionally chartered Commemoration since 2012. Since that time, it has held 2,190 welcome home ceremonies for Vietnam veterans throughout the nation. During the ceremony on Friday, each veteran will be presented with a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin thanking and honoring them for their service.
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