Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’

PennDOT Seeks Comment on Freight Plan

September 23, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on a draft of a state rail plan.

The 2045 Freight Movement Plan provides information on ways to improve the safe and efficient movement of freight. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 5.

The plan helps to ensure that the state remains eligible for federal funding under the National Highway Freight Program, which will add an average of $58.5 million to Pennsylvania’s freight program, PennDOT officials said in a news release.

Developed over a two-year period, the plan addresses state-federal provisions for freight planning, including those from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

PennDOT Taking Bids for Multimodal Grants

September 14, 2022

Applications are being taken for grant funding from the Multimodal Transportation Fund of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In a news release the agency said it will fund projects that coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities; improve streetscapes, lighting, sidewalk facilities and pedestrian safety; improve connectivity or utilization of existing transportation assets; or advance transit-oriented development.

Winning bids will be chosen based on safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.

Eligible applicants include municipalities, councils of governments, business and nonprofit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and port and rail entities.

The deadline to submit an application is Nov. 14 with winners being announced next year.

In fiscal year 2002 PennDOT awarded grants to 56 projects totaling $47.8 million in funding throughout 28 counties.

Pa. Updates 12-Year Transportation Plan

August 18, 2022

The 12-year Pennsylvania state transportation plan has been updated, the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission said this week.

The document outlines plans to improve roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads.

State officials predict $84 billion in funding will be available to fund projects over the 12-year span.

In a news release, the Commission described the plan as a multimodal, “fiscally constrained” planning tool for identifying and prioritizing the state’s transportation projects.

The plan becomes effective Oct. 1 and incorporates funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress in November 2021.

Pennsylvania officials anticipate funding availability of $16 billion for state highway and bridge projects, $11.4 billion for public transit, $331 million for multimodal projects, $232 million for freight rail and $168 million for aviation.

The plan was developed in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 19 metropolitan planning organizations and an independent county.

It still must be reviewed and approved by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration in accordance with air quality requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

PennDOT Seeking Grant Applications

August 10, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is taking applications for its 2022 state rail-freight grant programs.

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 2 for the Rail Transportation Assistance, and the Rail Freight Assistance programs.

The former is a capital budget grant program funded by bonds, while the latter is underwritten through the state’s multimodal fund.

In 2021, PennDOT awarded $33 million in grants to 25 freight-rail projects.

The state has 65, operating railroads, the most of any state, which operate over 5,600 miles of track.

PennDOT, NS Reach Agreement on Route Improvements to Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Route

June 28, 2022

An agreement has been reached between the state of Pennsylvania and Norfolk Southern on infrastructure improvements that will be made as part of plans to launch a second daily Amtrak train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

The improvements will cost $200 million with final details on the projects to be worked out by late this year.

Officials said the second Amtrak train is still about three years away from being inaugurated.

Currently the Pittsburgh-Harrisburg segment is served by Amtrak’s New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian, which operates via Philadelphia.

There are numerous Amtrak trains operating between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on the Amtrak-owned Keystone Corridor.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation did not provide any details about planned infrastructure projects and a department spokeswoman said the agreement has yet to be signed by all parties involved.

It is at this point an agreement in principle. Earlier reports indicated that 12 new and upgraded interlocking plants on the NS Pittsburgh Line.

PennDOT Awards Multimodal Grants

April 27, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced this week that it will award $47.9 million in funding to 56 projects, some of which involve public transit.

The funding is coming from the agency’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Projects chosen to receive grants were selected using such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.

Rail-related projects included $1.29 awarded to rehabilitate the Altoona Transportation Center, a multimodal transportation hub for passenger rail and bus services.

The planned work includes renovating utilities, installing new wayfinding and access signs and updating passenger spaces and transfer areas.

Another rail-related project is the removal of a deteriorated bridge over an active railroad line in York County. It received $379,501.

The bridge slated for removal, the Pleasant Acres Bridge, is weight restricted and is no longer needed following completion of a new road extension and grade crossing in Springettsbury Township.

Amtrak to Boost Keystone Service

April 14, 2022

Amtrak plans to add additional train service to the Keystone corridor on April 25.

In a news release, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which helps fund the service, said it expects increased ridership.

Service in the corridor between New York City and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia is currently 18 weekday trains between Philadelphia and Harrisburg while 14 weekday trains and 10 weekend trains are offered between New York City and Philadelphia.

The service boost will bring Keystone Service up to 24 weekday trains between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, with 14 available on Saturdays and 16 on Sundays.

Between New York City and Philadelphia, 20 weekday trains will be offered with 12 on Saturdays and 11 on Sundays.

The increased service will restore weekend service to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. The weekday service will be two trains above pre-pandemic levels.

In March 2020, Amtrak suspended all Keystone Service due to the pandemic and didn’t begin restoring service until June 2020.

Low demand led to the suspension of some Keystone Service in January 2021 between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

PennDOT Take Transportation Proposals

April 6, 2022

Proposals are being accepted from the private sector through April 30 by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for transportation projects.

PennDOT’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships said the proposals must involve agency-owned projects, infrastructure and services.

Proposal makers are encouraged to offer “innovative ways” to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including rail, roads, bridges, aviation and ports.

In a news release the agency said the proposals can include more efficient models to manage existing transportation-related services and programs.

State law allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining, and financing transportation-related projects.

Instructions on how to submit a project and information on the unsolicited proposal review process can be found at https://www.penndot.pa.gov/projectAndPrograms/p3forpa/Pages/default.aspx

Report Details Infrastructure Projects Needed on NS Pittsburgh Line for Added Amtrak Service

March 10, 2022

The infrastructure improvements that will be made to the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern to accommodate a second New York-Pittsburgh Amtrak train include new tracks and interlockings.

NS and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have released the results of a traffic study that contains the planned infrastructure projects.

The costs of those projects range from $147 million to $171 million with much of the funding expected to come from federal money provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The projects include a new third track on the Rockville Bridge over the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, a new 5-mile-long main line track through Rose Yard in Altoona, the addition of three new interlockings (crossovers), and expansion of nine existing interlocking plants.

A new track would also be built through the Pittsburgh Amtrak station to enable freight trains to bypass it.

The report projects that Amtrak departure times from Pittsburgh will be 7 a.m. and noon with trains arriving in Pittsburgh from New York at 3:11 p.m. and 9:01 p.m.

The current schedule of the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian is to depart Pittsburgh at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at 7:59 p.m.

The NS Pittsburgh Line is among the nation’s most heavily used rail freight lines and has handled as much as 100 million gross ton-miles in recent years.

The route has a top speed for passenger trains of 79 miles per hour but operations are complicated by a 40-mile helper district with 1.8 percent grades over the Allegheny Mountains west of Altoona.

NS currently operates 45 trains a day on the mostly double-track line excluding helper moves.

The Pennsylvanian is the sole Amtrak operation between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg although in the passenger carrier’s early years the route saw three daily roundtrips between those points.

As recently as 2004 the line had two pairs of New York-Pittsburgh Amtrak trains.

An analysis of the report published on the website of Trains magazine noted that the report fails to explain how up until that point NS managed to accommodate twice-daily Amtrak service without unduly hindering its freight operations.

However, one change since the discontinuance of the Three Rivers in 2004 has been NS plans to increase clearances on the Pittsburg Line through the city between the Amtrak station and CP Wing in Wilmerding.

That will add more potential for traffic conflicts with Amtrak trains in downtown Pittsburgh.

Because of clearance restrictions on the Pittsburgh Line, NS routes its approximately 16 double-stacked container trains along the south shore of Monongahela River through Pittsburgh over the Ohio Connecting Bridge, Mon Line and Port Perry Branch.

The report used computer modeling to simulate passenger and freight traffic and assumed that by 2020 NS would be operating six additional manifest freights and one additional westbound intermodal train beyond today’s operations.

 “Norfolk Southern does not have adequate capacity to operate the proposed new and modified Amtrak schedules without degradation to both Amtrak and NS operations,” the report concluded. “To mitigate the added delay to both Amtrak and NS trains, and to protect NS priority (expedited) traffic, additional infrastructure is needed.”

Specific projects and their estimated costs are: Add mainline track at Pittsburgh station, $12.5 million to $18.5 million; add universal three-track interlocking at Milepost 276 west of the Johnstown Amtrak station, $9.5 million to $11.5 million; install universal three-track interlocking at Milepost 257 in Portage, $7.8 million to $9.8 million; add new main track between CP Altoona (Milepost 236.8) to CP Antis (Milepost 232.5), $51.5 million to $61.5 million; upgrading 9 miles of an existing controlled siding between CP Antis and CP Gray in Tyrone, $11.5 million to $14.5 million;  and added 8 miles of new mainline track between the Amtrak station in Harrisburg and CP Banks at Marysville, $50 million to $55 million.

The traffic study and report can be read at https://www.penndot.pa.gov/Documents/Amtrak-Pennsylvanian_Final-Report.pdf

2nd NYC-Pittsburgh Amtrak Train Deal Reached

February 19, 2022

A deal to bring a second Amtrak train to the New York-Pittsburgh route was announced on Friday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has agreed to pay $170.8 million in infrastructure upgrades to Norfolk Southern’s route between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

The work will involve creating additional capacity for NS freight trains at yards in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Portage, Altoona and Harrisburg.

The state will also help underwrite the operating expenses of the new train as it does the existing Pennsylvanian between New York and Pittsburgh.

It is unclear when the second train will begin. State officials had said it could be within three years but during a Friday news conference that included Gov. Tom Wolfe and Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose, officials said it could be up to five years before the train begins service.

That estimate takes into account how long it will be before the capital improvement work is completed.

State officials said the infrastructure work will be funded in part with money the state had been saving to buy new passenger equipment.

However, Pennsylvania plans to use federal funding that it expects to receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help pay for new equipment that will be used by Amtrak.

The work on NS property is expected to begin after an operating agreement with NS is completed. Officials expect that process to be finished by June.