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  • Latest House Transportation Bill is a Step Backwards | PennPIRG
    TIFIA would be expanded more than eight fold to 1 billion annually and much like a parallel bill passed by the Senate s Environment and Public Works Committee the House would eliminate almost all the selection criteria that currently steer limited funds to the projects that deliver the best bang for the buck Given the backlog of private toll road projects that have applied for past TIFIA funds coupled with new provisions in the House bill to add tolls on federal highways the likely result would be a spate of publicly subsidized private toll roads and few TIFIA funds directed to anything else The House bill would also eliminate a provision that currently ensures taxpayers get paid back first when private projects face bankruptcy PennPIRG has been critical of privatized toll road deals that have failed to protect the public and will likely cost taxpayers more than public financing over the long term Too often these private toll road projects saddle the public with unnecessary costs while surrendering public control of our transportation infrastructure to Wall Street investors These concerns are described in PennPIRG s research report Private Roads Public Costs The Facts About Toll Road Privatization and How to Protect the Public Not everything in the House bill is worse than the status quo There are some tepid moves to make states set performance goals and track the repair needs of transportation assets If deficient bridges continue to face neglect for several years the bill will eventually ensure slightly greater investment in states bridge repair programs The bill would introduce some new performance measures though unfortunately these are not linked to the planning process or project selection The best and the worst thing about the House bill is that it is not written to ever become law If the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/latest-house-transportation-bill-step-backwards (2016-04-27)
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  • Inquirer: Despite warnings, Pa. Senate votes to expand red-light camera program | PennPIRG
    the state said Alana Miller of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group Pennsylvania lawmakers and officials at the Philadelphia Parking Authority which operates the city s red light camera program say Pennsylvania already has adopted most of the safeguards the PIRG report recommended Vincent J Fenerty chief of the Parking Authority said Philadelphia s contract with American Traffic Solutions Inc the Scottsdale Ariz company that installs and maintains the cameras here pays no commissions and provides no incentives for the company to issue more citations It s only about safety here Fenerty said not revenue The Inquirer reported Tuesday that Philadelphia police data on crashes at intersections monitored by red light cameras show that the number of crashes had increased at most of the intersections Fenerty and some highway safety experts questioned the validity of the police data The Parking Authority s own analysis last month of recent crashes at three red light camera intersections on Roosevelt Boulevard found accidents down 8 5 percent with injury accidents up 8 percent The Parking Authority now has 90 cameras at 20 intersections the most recent were added this month at Broad and Vine Streets The next intersection to be equipped with cameras will be Island Avenue and Lindburgh Boulevard in Southwest Philadelphia expected to be operational next month Four other intersections await approval by City Council and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for installation of red light cameras Academy Road and Grant Avenue Knights Road and Woodhaven Road Byberry Road and Worthington Road and Byberry Road and Bustleton Avenue Motorists are fined 100 if they are photographed running a red light Since the first cameras were installed in 2005 the program has been a lucrative source of income Motorists have paid 45 3 million in fines of which 21 1 million has

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/inquirer-despite-warnings-pa-senate-votes-expand-red-light-camera-program (2016-04-27)
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  • Post-Gazette: Group urges caution in deploying red-light cameras | PennPIRG
    a citation that is mailed to the car s owner The Senate and House bills authorize fines up to 100 No points are issued and violations cannot be considered in ratings for car insurance At present only Philadelphia is allowed to use red light cameras under a pilot program begun in 2005 The cameras are at 19 intersections and generated 141 571 citations in the year ending March 31 Local contracting for automated traffic enforcement systems may sometimes be a useful tool for keeping drivers and pedestrians safe But when private firms and municipalities consider revenues first and safety second the public interest is threatened PennPIRG said It said nearly 700 jurisdictions in 25 states have signed contracts with for profit companies to install the cameras Some of the contracts pay the companies on a per ticket basis give the companies veto power over locations and include penalties if the municipality tries to cancel them It urged municipalities not to include incentives in the contracts to maintain control over enforcement policies and to ensure that the contracting process is open and includes public participation Pennsylvania s legislation prohibits payments to camera vendors based on the number of citations or a percentage of fines It also bans another practice that has drawn criticism elsewhere shortening the yellow light time to create more violations Signs must be posted on approaches to intersections warning drivers that red light cameras are in use Cities that would be authorized to use the cameras under the Senate bill include McKeesport New Castle Johnstown Erie and Altoona Its sponsor Dominic Pileggi R Delaware cited an estimate by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that red light running killed 676 people and injured 113 000 in the U S in 2009 Critics cite other studies that say the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/post-gazette-group-urges-caution-deploying-red-light-cameras (2016-04-27)
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  • Patriot-News: Are red-light cameras worth the money? | PennPIRG
    percent to 50 percent and injuries 25 percent to 30 percent the institute found in a study The case against Not all the studies agree The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that crashes in the city are up 12 percent for the 15 intersections that have had cameras for at least a year according to police data The Philadelphia Parking Authority told the paper its numbers show crashes have declined The police department the paper said still supports the camera program and believes it is making driving safer Studies have found crashes increased after cameras were installed in Virginia Los Angeles Ontario and Australia among other places People get skittish when they get to the intersection with the cameras said John Bowman spokesman for the National Motorists Association which opposes cameras They stop suddenly and they get rear ended Communities can improve intersection safety for less money by improving sight lines using a longer yellow light or having a one second pause where all lights are red Bowman said Safety is not the only reason some object The cameras raise due process concerns said Edward Spreha a Harrisburg attorney who specializes in motorist law If a person wishes to contest a citation the Senate bill would require the person must present evidence to prove he or she is not guilty It s putting the burden of evidence on the citizen Spreha said Normally it s up to the commonwealth to prove you did it Also the cameras do not record the driver s face That would make it difficult for a person to prove he or she was not driving Spreha said Other cities and states have tried red light cameras and wished they hadn t said Alana Miller of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group The group is releasing its own study on red light cameras this morning Many times Miller said cities sign contracts with camera operating companies that benefit the companies more than the city or its citizens A number of cities have tried to cancel their contracts only to find they still owed the company millions she said In the long run Miller said it s often a bad financial deal for cities Many contracts give camera companies the right to determine where the cameras are placed The intersections that will draw the highest fines not necessarily the most dangerous can wind up in the lens Miller said Under the Senate bill the system administrator would have to tell PennDOT where it will place the cameras PennDOT would then issue recommendations for alternative intersections The administrator could disagree with the recommendations and use its initial location provided it gives PennDOT its reason and supporting data in its annual report Who s buying The Senate bill has a long way to go before becoming law With other hot issues a school voucher bill a Marcellus shale extraction fee liquor store privatization dominating attention the camera bill might not move this year or even this session If the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/patriot-news-are-red-light-cameras-worth-money (2016-04-27)
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  • Report ranks PA bridges worst in country | PennPIRG
    for more roads and ever wider highways but we really need to focus on the ones that already exist We can t afford to waste tax dollars on something new when we have something to fix right now Miller says She adds the state is not directing enough funding to bridge projects Miller says improving existing bridges would ease traffic congestion create jobs and increase safety Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We re teaming up with

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/report-ranks-pa-bridges-worst-country (2016-04-27)
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  • Keeping turnpike helps | PennPIRG
    relayed by Toll Road News the Pennsylvania Turnpike has five of the giant trucks that quickly clear street drains The entire city of Harrisburg has only one and it has made a huge difference that the pike released these vehicles and 20 workers to help the city The turnpike s aid in the aftermath of the storm is a clear example of one of the many benefits of keeping public assets in the hands of the public Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/keeping-turnpike-helps (2016-04-27)
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  • Data Shows Pennsylvania’s Bridges Are Worst in the Country on Eve of Obama Bridge Speech | PennPIRG
    making Pennsylvania the worst in the nation While it would cost 7 81 billion to bring all of the state s bridges into a state of good repair the state only spent 464 million on bridge repair in 2008 Prioritizing timely road and bridge repair saves money creates jobs and can save lives Putting off needed maintenance can cost taxpayers up to three times as much down the line Repair projects also create 16 percent more jobs than new highway projects While highway builders have long lobbied for more roads and ever wider highways to boost their profits we cannot afford to waste scarce taxpayer dollars on new capacity before we fix what we already have said PennPIRG Program Associate Alana Miller With tight budgets and stubbornly high unemployment President Obama s call to repair our infrastructure is on target Fixing it first saves money improves safety and creates jobs getting the most out of our transportation bucks she added Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/data-shows-pennsylvania%E2%80%99s-bridges-are-worst-country-eve-obama-bridge-speech (2016-04-27)
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  • Fixing It First | PennPIRG
    minute of every day an American driver crosses a bridge somewhere in the U S that is structurally deficient according to government standards One out of every four bridges in Pennsylvania is likely to be deficient for a total of 5 906 deficient bridges An unacceptable 26 5 percent of bridges statewide are rated structurally deficient compared to 11 5 percent nationwide According to 2009 inspection data and costs Pennsylvania would need 7 81 billion to bring all of our bridges into a state of good repair By comparison Pennsylvania spent 464 million total on bridge repair and replacement in 2008 There s a clear need for robust investment in repairing and replacing our bridges Out of 50 states and the District of Columbia Pennsylvania ranks worst nationally in terms of the overall condition of the state s bridges Prioritizing repair could save billions of dollars in the future while creating thousands of additional jobs today Past underinvestment in repair and diversion of maintenance funds toward building new highways does more than allow existing roads and bridges to slip into disrepair It also ultimately costs state and local governments billions more than would the cost of regular timely repair Over a 25 year period deferring maintenance of bridges and highways can cost three times as much as preventative repairs Fixing it first is also a smarter investment for creating jobs repair work on roads and bridges generates 16 percent more jobs than new bridge and road construction Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/fixing-it-first (2016-04-27)
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