December 2021
Your SEDA-COG MPO News & Updates
Welcome to the fall 2021 edition of Pathways, a newsletter covering activities related to the SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The SEDA-COG MPO is the official transportation planning organization for eight central Pennsylvania counties: Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter! Stay tuned for future editions on a quarterly basis.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Below are upcoming transportation meetings and events being held in the region. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, some meetings are conducted virtually or as hybrid meetings. MPO meetings have transitioned to hybrid meetings that enable in-person or virtual participation; meeting recordings are posted on the SEDA-COG YouTube channel. PennDOT LTAP has returned to offering in-person instruction, but a number of virtual classes and virtual drop-in sessions will also continue to be held.

December 14, 2021 - LTAP Winter Maintenance class
January 18, 2022 - LTAP Traffic Signs Basics class
January 25, 2022 - LTAP Pavement Markings class
February 1, 2022 - LTAP Curves on Local Roads class
February 4, 2022 - SEDA-COG MPO Meeting
February 15, 2022 - LTAP Local Road Safety Plans class
February 16, 2022 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Meeting

We will post updated meeting information on our website. For more information, or for links to participate in virtual meetings, contact the SEDA-COG Transportation Planning staff. SEDA-COG MPO meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings can be found here.
PennDOT Pathways Program
The PennDOT Pathways Program was recently launched to analyze new sources of funding for Pennsylvania's transportation system to better serve our communities and residents. An alternative funding Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was begun in November 2020 to identify near- and long-term solutions to help build stable transportation funding for Pennsylvania. The study was finalized in September 2021 and posted here. Viable solutions will be launched as PennDOT Pathways initiatives over the coming years.

One of the findings of the PEL study was that tolling of major bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation could be a viable near-term solution. To advance this funding alternative, PennDOT is pursuing the first initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program: The Major Bridge P3 Initiative. Other potential funding solutions being considered include: Managed Lanes, Congestion Pricing, Corridor Tolling, Road User Charges, and Fee & Tax Increases.

In addition, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an Executive Order in March 2021 establishing the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, which was charged with developing comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania's large and aging infrastructure. The Commission's final report can be found here. The TROC report outlines the Commission’s review and recommendations of several potential revenue sources to ultimately replace the gas tax.
CSVT Special Impact Study
The SEDA-COG MPO partnered with the Williamsport MPO on a Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) Project Special Impact Study that was completed in November 2021. The study area consisted of the following corridors:

  • PA 147 from the Ridge Road interchange in Northumberland County to the I-80/I-180 interchange;
  • Interstate 180 from the I-80 interchange to the US 15/Market Street interchange in Williamsport;
  • US 15 from Winfield in Union County to the I-180/US 15/Market Street interchange in Williamsport.

Michael Baker International was the consulting firm that provided technical support and report preparation. A study management team, steering committee, and corridor municipalities provided essential information and guidance.

Key study tasks included an existing conditions assessment, land use visioning, traffic modeling and safety assessments, evaluation of strategies, and the development of an implementation plan. The regional land use vision, along with the study’s recommendations, can be viewed via an interactive web map here.
FFY 2021 Obligated Projects Report
Annual Listing of Federally Obligated Projects Published
SEDA-COG staff has completed the MPO's Annual Listing of Federally Obligated Projects for Federal Fiscal Year 2021. This includes all federally-funded transportation projects in the SEDA-COG MPO region that were obligated during FFY 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021). These are generally projects that have been recently completed, are under construction, or are nearing construction, where federal transportation funds have been officially committed with a signed project agreement.

MPOs are responsible for maintaining the metropolitan transportation planning process and must publicize an annual listing of projects for which federal transportation funds were obligated in the prior fiscal year. During FFY 2021, the SEDA-COG MPO had a total of 66 obligations worth $25,648,401. The obligated funding came from the following funding categories (numbers are rounded):

  • Surface Transportation Program: $7.5 million
  • Safety: $5.9 million
  • Bridge Off System: $4.5 million
  • National Highway Performance Program: $3.9 million
  • Enhancements: $2.0 million
  • Rail & Highway: $1.2 million 
  • Special Funding: $604,000
Transportation Alternatives Funding
PennDOT opened a Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside) program funding round in June 2021. Funds are available for projects that enhance pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve access to public transportation, create safe routes to schools, preserve historic transportation structures, provide environmental mitigation, and create trails that serve a transportation purpose, while promoting safety and mobility.

Five TA Set-Aside project applications were submitted from the SEDA-COG MPO region. The MPO ranked and submitted comments on these projects to PennDOT in November 2021. Applications were reviewed based on such criteria as safety benefits, project delivery, reasonableness of cost, environmental justice, network connectivity, economic impact, and leveraging of other projects or funding. The five area projects are:

  • Market Street Streetscape – City of Sunbury
  • West Pine Street Decorative Streetlight and Curb Ramp Improvement Project – Selinsgrove Borough
  • Bald Eagle Valley Trail Phase 5 – Clinton County
  • Sidewalk, Curb, and Stormwater Enhancements – Renovo Borough
  • Main Street Revitalization Project – Catawissa Borough

The Statewide Project Selection Committee will evaluate the projects in January 2022. Project selections are expected sometime in early 2022.

More information can be found here.
2023 Twelve Year Program Update
Twelve Year Program Update is Underway
The Twelve Year Program (TYP) is Pennsylvania’s mid-range planning tool. It lists statewide planned projects and assigns funding to them over a 12-year period. The first four years comprise the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The TYP is updated every two years after regional Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) are submitted and approved by MPOs and RPOs.

SEDA-COG MPO staff reviews TYP public survey results alongside coordination with area counties/municipalities and PennDOT District staff to identify priorities for the 2023 TYP. Carry-over and new projects to include in the 2023 TYP are still being evaluated based on funding and schedule constraints.

The draft TYP will be released for public comment in April 2022 and adopted in June 2022. An additional statewide public comment period will run from June 1 to 15, 2022.
Federal Transportation Funding Legislation
New Legislation Enacted
Federal highway and public transportation programs are funded through multi-year surface transportation authorization acts. On Nov. 15, 2021, the President signed into law H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which reauthorizes surface transportation programs through Fiscal Year 2026, and provides for a one-time transfer of funds from the General Fund into the Highway Trust Fund; authorizes programs for water, energy, and broadband infrastructure; and provides emergency supplemental appropriations.

The act devotes $110 billion to the nation’s roads and bridges, $66 billion to rail, $39 billion to public transportation, and $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations. The $284 billion in total transportation spending also includes monies for ports and waterways, road safety projects, airports and reconnecting communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation has compiled a fact sheet about what the act means for Pennsylvania.

We will continue to monitor guidance related to the act and report updates in this newsletter.
Active Transportation Committee Update
New Committee Keeps Rolling
The Middle Susquehanna Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the SEDA-COG MPO in May 2019. To help implement this Plan, the SEDA-COG MPO and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership formed a Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee. The Committee's mission is to enhance quality of life in the Middle Susquehanna Valley through the development of a regional network of walkable and bikeable communities and the promotion of a bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly culture. The Committee and its work groups on Safety, Connections, and Community Engagement are diligently laboring on multiple fronts to implement the Plan's action items, goals, and overarching vision.

A few recent successes include:

  • Helping communities pursue funding from DCNR and WalkWorks grant opportunities to further active transportation in our region;
  • Updating bike/ped priority project lists and mapping;
  • Developing a branding approach for the Committee and initiating brand graphic ideas;
  • Analyzing the American Rescue Plan Act and potential funding for trails, bike/ped, and recreation facilities;
  • Completing sidewalk inventories in pilot communities.

To learn more, contact SEDA-COG's Katherine Wilde at
Transportation Tidbits
The SEDA-COG MPO works to verify and update roadway data for Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) samples. Each year, SEDA-COG MPO staff complete field views of randomly selected HPMS sample sections in all eight MPO counties to verify data items such as left turn lanes, lane width, signalized intersections, and widening potential. The final data for 179 HPMS sample sites were submitted to PennDOT on November 10, 2021.
With more than 25,000 state-owned bridges greater than or equal to 8' in length, Pennsylvania has the third-largest number of bridges in the nation. The average age of bridges on the state system is over 50 years old. The public can view bridge conditions by using an interactive web map here. Information on bridge safety inspections, standards, specifications, and more is on PennDOT's Bridges page.
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SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.

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