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June 3, 2020

Pennsylvania Bill Would Expand Use of Public-Private Partnerships For Truck Projects

One bill halfway through the Pennsylvania statehouse would tap public-private partnerships to help get projects done to address trucking issues.

The House voted unanimously to advance a bill to expand the state’s authorization to use public-private partnerships beyond roads, rail and transit.

Sponsored by Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, the bill would increase the scope of the state’s P3 program to allow for public-private transportation projects to include the following:

  • Truck parking.
  • Weigh station bypasses.
  • Electronic toll payment.
  • Snow and ice removal for commercial vehicles.

“I believe extending the scope of the program will only increase the benefits that arise from a strong relationship between the public and private sectors relating to transportation projects,” White wrote in a memo to lawmakers.

Additionally, the bill calls for the public-private partnership transportation board overseeing the program to submit an annual report to the General Assembly. The board would be responsible for the following:

  • A description of all transportation projects evaluated and resolutions adopted.
  • A description of all transportation projects denied and reasons for the denial.
  • A description of all unsolicited plans for transportation projects submitted by private entities and the status of the board’s evaluation of the unsolicited plans.
  • A description of all requests for the transportation projects submitted by public entities and the status of the board’s evaluation of the requests.

The bill, HB2065, is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Truck parking

Available truck parking is a constant issue for professional drivers traveling the nation’s roadways. Concern about parking availability in the state of Pennsylvania is not an exception.

Earlier this year, the issue was worsened when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed all rest areas due to coronavirus concerns.

Information from the Federal Highway Administration shows that Pennsylvania has 10,932 total truck parking spaces. There are 66 public facilities available with 1,569 truck spaces. There are 223 private truck stops with 9,363 truck spaces.

Snow and ice removal

The provision covering snow and ice removal for commercial vehicles addresses the topic of a separate bill.

State law already allows police to ticket car and truck drivers between $200 and $1,000 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death.

A Senate-approved bill would authorize law enforcement to issue tickets solely for failure to clear their vehicles of snow or ice. In addition to trucks, the amended version includes mass transit vehicles, buses, and school buses.

Enforcement would be limited to highways.

Drivers would be required to make “reasonable efforts” to remove snow or ice from all parts of their vehicles within 24 hours of a weather event.

Offenders would face a maximum fine of $1,500 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death. The amended version includes an additional protection allowing police to ticket drivers $50 for failure to clear snow or ice before they take to the roads.

Truck operators would be excused if they are on their way to a facility to remove accumulated snow or ice. In addition, violations would not be issued if compliance would cause the trucker to violate any federal or state law or regulation regarding workplace safety, or if it would be a health or safety threat.

The bill awaits consideration on the House floor. If approved there, SB114 would head back to the Senate for approval of changes before it can advance to the governor’s desk.

Read more from the original publication HERE.

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