Trying to get Congress moving on transportation funding

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

We’re back after an extended period of hibernation. Thanks for your patience.

Next Thursday is National Stand Up for Transportation Day, an observance that will be marked locally with a rally at 10 a.m. at Wood Street Station.

The event is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association and the purpose is to encourage Congress to do its job and enact a long-term, well-funded transportation bill that gives states the ability to plan long-range projects and address crumbling roads and bridges and ailing transit systems.

Here’s more:

Pittsburgh area leaders are joining with their counterparts nationwide, April 9, 2015 to draw attention and awareness to the looming federal transportation funding crisis and call on Congress to follow Pennsylvania’s lead by passing a comprehensive, sustainable transportation funding package. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), with support from national and local partners from transportation, business, labor and community oriented interests, Stand Up for Transportation Day will unite the voices of 200+ participating organizations in over 140 communities nationwide to focus on the federal transportation funding crisis’s urgency and provide a Pittsburgh-region context.
WHY: Whether you ride a train, bus or bike, walk or drive, the expiration of the federal funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), has a direct impact on southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy and quality of life. On May 31, 2015, the nation’s transportation funding mechanism - the Highway Trust Fund - becomes literally insolvent. It also threatens to wipe out the leadership Pennsylvania showed in passing its own transportation funding bill, Act 89 of 2013. Without a long-term federal transportation funding bill, ours and communities across the country will face tremendous economic and employment uncertainty.  Transportation is the backbone of our local and national economy. A long-term transportation bill is needed to reinforce and expand transportation choices, and to continue to grow our economy – locally and nationally.

And there's more from this piece in The Washington Post, decrying Republican budgets that would further starve our transportation infrastructure:

Every once in a while, you’re hit over the head with just how damaging the dysfunctional, unresponsive politics we live with today really are.

Here’s a headline from a Post article from yesterday: “With 61,000 bridges needing repair, states await action on Capitol Hill.”

And then there’s this budget analysis by my Center on Budget colleague David Reich: “House, Senate Budgets Have Big Cuts in Transportation Infrastructure.”

David points out that both of the budgets passed by the House and Senate “cut highway construction and other transportation infrastructure funding over the next decade by 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively, below the cost of maintaining current funding levels.” That is, they go in exactly the opposite direction that we need them to, given the state of our national transportation infrastructure.

The full article is here.


Yellow Cab has debuted its answer to Uber and Lyft, called Z-Trip and Yellow Z.

Jamie Campolongo, president of Pittsburgh Transportation Group, said the service “is in direct response to the efforts of our ride-share competitors” with “significant differences.” Customers can ride in privately owned vehicles whose drivers have been vetted and trained and insured by Yellow Cab.

Details can be found here.


In observance of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month:


menatworkPaving begins Monday on Greentree Road in Scott and Green Tree and will restrict traffic on this schedule: Monday through Wednesday, from Cochran Road to McMonagle Road, single-lane traffic in both directions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.; on Thursday, alternating one-way traffic from McMonagle Road to Potomac Avenue, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, alternating one-way traffic from Elmhurst Road to Carnahan Road, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., except that work on Saturday will continue until 4 p.m. More restrictions will be announced later as the project continues into August.

Also Monday, Freeport Road in Harmar will be reduced to one narrow lane in both directions at the Hulton Bridge, with the dedicated turn lane for southbound traffic closed. You’ll still be able to turn left at the bridge, provided you can survive the inevitable traffic jam in getting there. The restrictions will be in place until mid-October, when the new bridge is scheduled to open.

Bridge inspection will close the left and center lanes of the Parkway East at the bridge carrying Garden City Drive over the parkway in Monroeville from 9 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Happy motoring!


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