More aid coming to Pennsylvania. Congress passed the $1.9 trillion “America Rescue Plan Act” this week which is slated to send nearly $13.7 billion in federal aid to Pennsylvania state and local governments. The measure is expected to be signed by President Biden and represents his first legislative win as he deals with the ongoing financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven billion dollars of the federal aid will be directly allocated to the state, but it is unclear how much may be directed specifically to transportation efforts if any at all. It is expected that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will issue guidance on how the fund can be applied or used if directed toward transportation infrastructure projects. APC is working with our national association—ARTBA—to push for implementing regulations allowing for these funds to be used for the state’s capital highway programs.
PennDOT budget hearing in Senate delayed. The Senate Appropriations Committee was slated to hear from PennDOT this week, but that hearing has been postponed until a later date. The delay was due to the funeral services for Executive Deputy Secretary George McAuley being scheduled at the same time. APC again wishes to extend its condolences and deepest sympathies to the McAuley family and the entire PennDOT family as they mourn the loss of Mr. McAuley during this difficult time.
We will report to you when the PennDOT hearing will be rescheduled and you can watch all the Senate budget hearings here.
Langerholc introduces bill to stop P3 bridge tolling proposal. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc announced he is introducing legislation, Senate Bill 382, to reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and void PennDOT’s recent P3 Interstate Bridge Tolling Plan. The press conference is scheduled for later today and we will report to you what we learn during the event. Scheduled to join Senator Langerholc are several senators from throughout the Commonwealth that are opposing the recent P3 tolling proposal.
The announcement of this piece of legislation comes on the heels of an announcement last week by House Transportation Committee Chairman Tim Hennessey that he will convene a public hearing on PennDOT’s Major Bridge P3 Initiative on March 24. It appears that the General Assembly is preparing to make this controversial proposal a main agenda item this upcoming session.