PennDOT could fix more roads, bridges, if gas tax didn’t fund police, Auditor General says

Ed Blazina | Thursday, April 25, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania governors and legislative leaders of both parties for years have tapped various cash cows to pay for transportation services and avoid a general tax increase.

But now some of that revenue is endangered, leaving leaders scrambling.

State police, for example, are receiving more than $700 million this year from the state’s Motor License Fund to patrol state-owned highways. The primary use of the fund, which gets most of its money from the 57.6-cents-a-gallon state gasoline tax, the nation’s highest, is to build and maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

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Another report calls state levies on Pennsylvania Turnpike unsustainable

Deb Erdley | Monday April 1, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A coalition of transportation agencies Monday issued the latest alert on a looming transportation crisis, driven in part by the law that ordered the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to send $450 million a year to PennDOT.

The Southeast Partnership for Mobility, which includes the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PennDOT, weighed in with a report labeling the state’s transportation funding system unsustainable.

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Pennsylvania drivers can bring documents to PennDOT to pre-verify for ‘REAL ID’

Brian C. Rittmeyer | Wednesday, January 23, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Pennsylvania drivers are getting information in the mail about pre-verifying for “REAL ID.”

The identifications, in the form of a new driver’s license or photo identification card, will be available this spring, according to the postcard PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said the agency is sending to all customers.

REAL ID-compliant identification will be needed as of Oct. 1, 2020, to enter federal buildings and to board commercial airline flights, even if those flights to do not leave the country.

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Gov. Tom Wolf: Rising cost of turnpike tolls ‘driving business away’ from Pa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The rising cost of tolls on the turnpike is “driving business away” from Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday morning.

“People using the turnpike are paying too much,” Wolf said during an appearance on KDKA Radio . “The turnpike really is driving business away.”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has raised tolls 11 consecutive years . Motorists will pay about 6 percent more to drive the turnpike next year, whether they pay cash or use the E-ZPass system.

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Pa. residents can begin pre-registering for REAL ID cards Sept. 4

Ed Blazina | Monday, August 27, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will hire 250 additional workers to help process paperwork from residents seeking REAL ID cards that become available in March.

The department announced Monday it will begin Sept. 4 pre-registering residents who received their first driver’s licenses before September 2003. Beginning in October 2020, a REAL ID card, which is harder to forge, or a valid passport will be required to enter most federal buildings or to pass through airport security.

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Real ID process begins for Pa. residents

Ed Blazina | Sunday, March 4, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania residents who received their first driver’s license or state identification card after September 2003 can begin the process of obtaining a Real ID card.

The state Department of Transportation has electronic documents available for about 35 percent of those who received their cards after that date and it should be easier for them to get the Real ID cards when they become available in spring 2019. The cards, which are optional, will be required by the federal government to enter most federal buildings and to get through airport security beginning in October 2020.

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Audit to examine impact of toll hikes on Pennsylvania Turnpike traffic, revenue

Theresa Clift | Wednesday, January 3, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The state auditor general’s office will conduct a performance audit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in light of concerns that annual toll hikes will cause traffic to decline and generate less money for important construction projects.

“What we want to analyze is their belief from their consultants that despite the increase in tolls, they’ll have increased traffic,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “I am not convinced this is going to happen.”

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New app helps state conduct 2,000 more oil and gas inspections in 2017

Mary Ann Thomas | Tuesday, December 19, 2017, The Tribune Review

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced this week that it will complete 2,000 more inspections for its oil and gas program in 2017 because of a new iPad app.

The innovation is timely as DEP oil and gas compliance inspections have jumped by more than 300 percent in the past decade, from 10,566 in 2007 to almost 35,000 in 2016, according to a DEP press release.

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Start gathering your identifying documents now for 2019 REAL ID rollout, PennDOT says

Matthew Santoni | Wednesday, November 29, 2017, The Tribune Review

If you thought the wait at the DMV was bad now, imagine what it will be like with 10.7 million Pennsylvanians in line.

As PennDOT brings its driver-licensing systems in line with the federal REAL ID standards, the agency is urging residents to start gathering the required identifying documents or check with the state in a few months to see if they’re already on file. The state anticipates being able to issue licenses compliant with the 2005 anti-terrorism identification program starting in spring 2019, said PennDOT spokeswoman Alexis Campbell.

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Pennsylvania wants another 3 years to comply with REAL ID

Brian Bowling | Thursday, September 7, 2017, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Pennsylvania is seeking another three years to comply with the enhanced identification requirements the federal government set up in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, according to a PennDOT news release.

Known as the REAL ID program, the 2005 federal law requires states to ensure people seeking a driver’s license or state-issued identification card are who they say they are.

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Do you have outstanding PA Turnpike toll violations?

If you have unpaid PA Turnpike toll violations you are risking suspension of your vehicle registration. A new law (Act 165 of 2016) taking effect August 4th of 2017 allows the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to suspend the vehicle registration of any Pennsylvania motorist who has PA toll violations (including tolls and fees) totaling $500 or more or 6 or more separate instances of violation.

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