04.07.16: Article

April 7, 2016: PennDOT Secretary Attends
Chamber of Commerce Transportation Event


PennDOT Secretary, Leslie Richards

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards spoke to a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce gathering on April 7, 2016.  She discussed her four-pronged approach to the agency’s operating philosophy; 1) Prioritizing Investment, 2) Maximizing Technology, 3) Empowering the Public and 4) Innovative Partnerships.

1) Prioritized Investment PennDOT has invested in repairs to bridges since the Secretary’s appointment in 2015 which has reduced the number of outstanding deficient bridges from 20,000 to 4,000–the lowest number ever.

2) Maximizing Technology Modern computer software will replace that which was over a decade old and incompatible with other State agencies.  PennDOT is working with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to adopt private circulation technology.

3) Public Empowerment  A new website, www.projects.penndot.gov, provides the public with up-to-date data on all PennDOT projects state-wide.  The Department’s discretionary funds will be released to individual districts for local projects at the beginning of the State fiscal year instead of at year-end.

4) Innovative Partnerships PennDOT is improving services at other State Offices;  helping the State Department to institute online voter registration, assisting the Conservation & Natural Resources Department to register ATVs and other alternative vehicles, implementing the Rapid Group Replacement Program (Public/Private Partnerships-P3) to place 558 bridges on the list for repairs in 2016 using private contractors.

RATS Committee Report on the 2017-2020 TIP Plan 


RATS Planner, Alan Piper

Alan Piper, County Transportation Planner reported on the work of the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) known locally as the Reading Area Transportation Study (RATS).  The RATS Committee oversees listings and funding for projects ranging in size from the 222 Northeast Corridor to localized walking/biking trails.

RATS FFY 2011-2035 Long Range Transportation Plan  Major Goals include 1) Reducing Congestion, 2) Increasing Access & Mobility, 3) Removing Barriers to Freight Movement, 4) Increasing Safety and 5) Strategic Compatibility with Plan Principles.

1) Reduce Congestion Alleviate Bottlenecks, minimize recurring congestion, anticipate challenges and implement timely mitigation.

2) Access & Mobility Provide intermodal connections, connect adjacent land uses, maximize Public Transit opportunities and increase connections between freight producers and haulers.

3) Ease of Freight Movement Alleviate traffic bottlenecks on freight routes, promote accessibility to rail and improve access to the regional roadway network.

4) Increase Safety Make safety improvements in high-crash corridors and implement low-cost safety improvements in all other corridors.

5) Congestion Strategy Compatibility Promote investment in existing corridors and designated economic development areas that support future growth, continue investments in enhancement projects, transit opportunities and commercial growth where transit exists.

Mr. Piper announced that an updated 4-year TIP (2017-2020) is 50% completed with project proposals totaling $343 Million. The TIP will be finalized by the RATS Committee in June 2016.

YES, The Sinking Spring Revitalization Plan, Phase 4 Intersection Project (Penn-Shillington-Mull Avenues), will be listed on the 4-Year TIP Plan for preliminary engineering to begin!

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