PennDOT is seeking temporary employees for its 2014 winter maintenance program, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
The majority of available positions are transportation equipment operators, a position which requires a commercial driver’s license.
Additional temporary positions include mechanics, trades helpers, welders, clerks, typists, semi-skilled laborers, stock clerks and custodial workers. The program runs from September through April.
For information on eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit RepJimCox.com and click on “PennDOT Winter Maintenance Program.” The deadline to apply is the close of business on Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Commonwealth Foundation has created a well-thought plan to save the state. Call it a Prosperous Pennsylvania Blueprint. Below is the executive summary. The complete report in the form of a pdf can be found here. For the record, BillLawrenceOnline most vehemently opposes leasing the Turnpike, which is a public resource. Our suggestion is to make it a freeway eliminating traffic snarls and allowing for far more entrances and, especially, egresses to be built . This would increase its utility and improve traffic flow in Pennsylvania far less expensively than building new roads.
It should further be noted that expensive I-76 makes the Port of Philadelphia less competitive with New York/New Jersey — no tolls on I-80 after all — and tolls are a rather inefficient way of collecting revenue due to the cost of infrastructure and personnel.
And E-ZPass, frankly has too much of a hint of Big Brother for us.
Freedom is good.
By Elizabeth Stelle, Bob Dick, Jessica Barnett
Over the past six fiscal years, the commonwealth has spent more than it has taken in. This fiscal gap is projected to widen as expenditures are on pace to grow faster than future revenue. Such a structural deficit poses a threat to the very foundations of economic growth and job creation that lead to prosperity for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.
From 1970 to 2014, state government spending rose from $4 billion to nearly $67 billion—the highest in state history. Adjusting for inflation, that’s an increase of $3,163 per resident.
This decades-long pattern has placed an undue burden on the backs of state taxpayers. Pennsylvania has the 10th highest state and local tax burden in the nation. Meanwhile, state and local government debt has grown to a combined $125 billion—nearly $10,000 per resident.
High spending, taxes, and debt hinders Pennsylvania families’ opportunities for prosperity. The commonwealth is near the bottom in most state rankings of economic climate and has lagged the rest of the nation in job and income growth for decades.
Unfortunately, the prospects for improvement are overshadowed by the challenges lawmakers face in balancing our state budget.
Recent budgets relied heavily on temporary federal stimulus dollars and one-time revenue sources, creating an imbalance between spending and revenue that has not yet been resolved. Spending on Public Welfare—the largest department in the commonwealth’s budget—continues to grow faster than taxpayers’ income. Debt payments and prison costs continue to eat a large share of the state budget.
The most pressing threat to our fiscal house is a looming public pension crisis. With $47 billion (and growing) in unfunded pension liabilities between the two statewide plans for public employees, state pension contributions will skyrocket by 143% in the next five years.
This report outlines reforms to help build a foundation for lasting prosperity. Our analysis focuses on three categories of reform.
First we address short-term fiscal reforms to deal with challenges facing our state budget. We also identify long-term reforms to bring spending in line with inflation while reducing the size of government and the burden on taxpayers. Finally, we discuss policy reforms aimed at economic growth.
These recommendations include:
–Cut corporate welfare spending—including Redevelopment Assistance Capital Spending, the Commonwealth Financing Authority, and the Horse Race Development Fund—and targeted tax incentives in favor of tax relief for all.
–Utilize part of the legislative reserve fund.
–Reduce reliance on driver charges and general tax revenue to fund mass transit, and shift to greater user fees.
–Allow school districts to use fund reserves to invest in pension funds and receive a credit for their future pension costs.
–Privatize and utilize competitively-bid management contracts for “yellow-pages” government, including state liquor stores, the Pennsylvania Lottery and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
–Enact comprehensive welfare reform to slow the rate of spending growth while also reducing poverty.
–Enact long-term care reform to encourage private long-term care insurance and reduce reliance on government programs.
–Increase school choice programs to provide families with greater educational opportunities at a lower cost per student.
–Limit future increases in government spending to inflation plus population growth.
–Lower the overall tax burden, rather than relying on economic development programs, to encourage economic growth.
–Enact a Right-to-Work law to make Pennsylvania more competitive with other states in attracting business investment.
Combined, these reforms detail a blueprint for a stable fiscal house that will provide opportunities for prosperity for all Pennsylvania families.
Prosperous Pennsylvania Blueprint has mostly great ideas but the Turnpike belongs to the people. Get rid of the toll booths.
PennDOT has re-issued an updated version of its mobile application 511PA, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
The application provides hands-free and eyes-free travel alerts for the nearly 40,000 miles of road that PennDOT maintains, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and select New Jersey and West Virginia roadways. Users can also check the application before they travel to view traffic speeds, cameras and travel alerts.
Application users can tailor the alerts based on event type, time between alerts, their location (with a radius of up to 500 miles), and for which direction of travel the user wants to hear advisories. When activated, the hands-free and eyes-free application plays audio alerts with traffic incidents or slowdowns within the radius the user selects.
In addition to the mobile application, motorists can sign up to receive personal, customizable travel alerts, or follow the statewide or regional Twitter feeds assigned to each 511PA region.
The application is free and is available from the iTunes App Store or Google Play stores by searching for “511PA.”
Pennsylvania drivers who use a handicapped driver mirror placard to park in accessible spaces are reminded to take down their mirror hanger when driving, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129). The hanger can block a driver’s vision and lead to serious accidents.
With this rough bout of global warming winding down crews are out fixing pot holes and State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129) reminds motorist that those who fail to turn on headlights in posted work zones face a $25 fine.
He also says that motorists caught driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in active work zones automatically lose their license for 15 days.
Active construction projects are listed at 511PA.com.
One of the most common causes of accidents in the winter is driving too fast for conditions. Just because the speed limit sign says 65 does not mean it’s always appropriate to drive at that speed, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
Cox says PennDOT as recommendations for winter travel. They include:
Checking all fluid levels and installing winter wiper blades.
Checking the heating system, lights and tires.
Have a winter emergency kit in the vehicle in case of an accident or being stranded during a winter storm. The kit should include, among other items, extra warm clothing and gloves, a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, cell phone and charger, ice scraper and bottled water.
Pa Transportation Priorities Input Sought — The Commonwealth is asking for citizens transportation advice and one suspects it’s part of a ploy to set up a gas tax and toll hikes.
One bit of Citizen Transporation Advice would be to get rid of toll roads a.k.a traffic snarls made on purpose
As part of the Commonwealth’s 12-year transportation program, state residents are invited to visit www.TalkPATransportation.com to offer their input on transportation priorities and to register for the program’s first-ever interactive online public meeting, reports state Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
Tell them you want to the gas tax cut and removal of toll roads. Seriously. They certainly won’t be expecting that.
The program, which serves as a blueprint of prioritized transportation projects, is updated every two years through a cooperative effort among the State Transportation Commission, PennDOT and its 23 regional planning partners.
Through Oct. 7, the public can submit feedback at their convenience through the “Tell Us What You Think” survey on the website, through a printed survey obtained by emailing email@example.com or by telephone at 1-855-896-4930.
Citizens may also register to take part in an online public meeting to be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. During the webcast, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch will give an update on state transportation issues and answer questions from registered participants. Questions may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Commuting habits have changed, and not for the greener. While the percent of Americans worked from home has risen to 4.2 percent in 2011 from 2.2 percent in 1981, according to NPR.org, that is significantly less than in 1960 when 7 percent did.
The reason is attributed to the number of those working on family farms a half-century ago, along with it being much more common for doctors and lawyers to work from their homes.
Also far more Americans walked to work back in the day — 9.5 percent in 1960 to 2.7 percent in 2011, which it should be noted is half that of 1981.
And yes, the use of public transportation has dipped from 11. 8 percent to 6 percent to 4.9 percent.
Of course what has increased significantly is the use of private automobiles for commuting when rose from 62.7 percent to 82.3 percent to 84.4 percent.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are seeking public input about traffic information services through online survey, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129)
The anonymous survey includes questions on the types of traffic information travelers find valuable, how they access and use that information, and how traffic information affects driving habits. It also asks for feedback on the 511PA traveler information service and the PTC’s Turnpike Roadway Information Program (TRIP).
The 511PA service offers traffic-delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates, and access to more than 679 traffic cameras, and TRIP offers real-time traffic conditions, weather alerts, and travel information online or on a mobile device for the 552 miles of turnpike roadway.
The wits at PennDOT made exit signs for Ephrata in Lancaster County. Unfortunately, they spelled the borough’s name as Epharta and now must replace them. Sound out Epharta to really see why they have to replace them.