May 2021
Your SEDA-COG MPO News & Updates
Welcome to the spring 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.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MPO meetings have been transitioned to virtual formats and meeting recordings are posted on the SEDA-COG website. During these difficult times, we remain focused on the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, partners, and stakeholders.

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. In accordance with state and national guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, meetings are primarily being conducted virtually. PennDOT LTAP has suspended all in-person instruction, but a number of virtual classes and virtual drop-in sessions will be held throughout 2021.

May 21, 2021 - SEDA-COG MPO Meeting
June 3, 2021 - SEDA-COG Draft Long Range Transportation Plan Public Meeting
June 25, 2021 - SEDA-COG MPO Meeting
June 29, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Community Engagement Work Group
July 29, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Safety Work Group

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.
LTAP Training
PennDOT Pathways Program
The PennDOT Pathways Program was recently launched to analyze new sources of funding for Pennsylvania's transportation system that could better serve our communities and all residents into future generations. An alternative funding Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was begun in November 2020 and is underway to identify near- and long-term funding options to help build stable transportation funding for Pennsylvania. Viable solutions will be launched as PennDOT Pathways initiatives over the coming years. To view the PEL study on-demand virtual public meeting website and submit comments through June 1, click here.

One of the early findings of the PEL study is 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 simultaneously pursuing the first initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program: The Major Bridge P3 Initiative. Other potential funding solutions being studied include: Managed Lanes, Congestion Pricing, Corridor Tolling, Road User Charges, and Fee & Tax Increases.

In addition, Governor Tom Wolf signed an Executive Order in March 2021 establishing the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, which will develop comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania's large and aging infrastructure. A report of commission activities and funding options will be submitted to the Governor before Aug. 1, 2021. More information about PennDOT transportation funding considerations can be found here.
CSVT Special Impact Study
The SEDA-COG MPO has been partnering with the Williamsport MPO on a Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) Project Special Impact Study. The study area consists 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 is the consulting firm providing technical support and report preparation. Ongoing coordination with a study management team, steering committee, corridor municipalities, and partnering agencies is providing essential information and guidance. Additional outreach will gauge opinions on study recommendations through a public open house and a public officials briefing on July 7, 2021.

Recent efforts have been focused on refining recommended transportation strategies and land use scenarios for how the fully constructed CSVT project can support future regional growth. Study recommendations will address safety, system operations, economic development potential, and land use policy.

Final recommendations will be presented at the Williamsport MPO meeting on July 26, 2021.
Long Range Transportation Plan Update
Plan Update Nearly Finished
Work is wrapping up on the 2021 Update of the SEDA-COG MPO Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Consultant assistance from Michael Baker International was used to prepare performance measures content and visualization, along with coordinating public involvement and helping to compile the draft plan document.

A first draft of the plan was issued to MPO members in November 2020. Public outreach, surveying, and consultation with diverse interested parties occurred during February/March 2021. On May 21, a revised plan was presented to the MPO and approved for advertising to the public for a 30-day comment period. A virtual public meeting about the draft plan will occur on June 3 and can be registered for using this link.

SEDA-COG's website hosts the entire draft plan, a link to a story map (serving as a highly visual executive summary), and comment period details. Click here to access the plan from our website. Comments on the draft plan are due by 4:00 p.m. on June 22.

The final plan is anticipated to be approved by the SEDA-COG MPO on June 25, 2021.

To learn more, contact SEDA-COG's Don Kiel at 814-553-8689 or lrtp@seda-cog.org.
New Designated Stops Public Transportation
rabbittransit has initiated a new designated stop service for the counties of Union, Snyder, Montour, Columbia and Northumberland. There are designated stops along currently traveled routes for rabbittransit's shared ride public transportation. The cost is only $2.00 per trip.

Designated stops travel along the following routes: Bloomsburg-Danville, Bloomsburg-Bloomsburg Walmart, Danville-Northumberland, Mifflinburg-Lewisburg, Orangeville-Berwick, the Selinsgrove area, Selinsgrove-Lewisburg, and Sunbury-Selinsgrove.

Riders are required to schedule an advance reservation to ride. Reservations must be made by 12:00 pm the business day prior to the date of travel. To schedule a reservation, call the rabbittransit Call Center at 1-800-632-9063.

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.

The statewide public comment period for the update of the 2023 TYP began on March 1 and concluded on April 14, 2021. The public submitted 7,423 survey responses and 2,473 mapped issues. 1,900 people attended the Online Public Forum on March 23. The results of the Transportation Survey and the question and answer session from the Online Public Forum will be available on the State Transportation Commission website in June 2021.

SEDA-COG MPO staff will review the TYP public survey results alongside coordination with area counties and PennDOT District staff to identify priorities for the 2023 TYP. The draft TYP will be released for public comment in early 2022 and adopted in June 2022.
Federal Transportation Funding Legislation
New Legislation Taking Shape
Federal highway and public transportation programs are funded through multi-year surface transportation authorization acts. The current surface transportation program authorization expires on
Sept. 30, 2021. Both the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are expected to finish their sections of the new surface transportation authorization legislation by Memorial Day..

In March, the House Committee leaders announced that an opportunity was being provided for House members to submit candidate projects for congressionally directed spending in the upcoming authorization. SEDA-COG MPO staff coordinated with Congressman Fred Keller on project requests. Projects submitted by Keller can be found here.

In addition, President Biden has introduced The American Jobs Plan for upgrading the nation's infrastructure and helping create millions of jobs. A fact sheet on this plan can be found here.

We will continue to monitor federal transportation legislation developments 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 new vehicle stickers/decals that were printed and distributed to encourage safe driving and sharing of the road with bicyclists;
  • Continuing bicycle level of traffic stress analysis of local roads to complement what was already completed for state roads in the region;
  • Reaching out to area police departments about collaborating to address bike/ped issues and locations of concern.

To learn more, contact SEDA-COG's Katherine Wilde at
Transportation Tidbits
PennDOT has launched a survey to gain an understanding of Pennsylvanians’ perceptions and knowledge of automated vehicles. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and can be found here.
The I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges are dual structures, built in 1965, crossing over Nescopeck Creek in Luzerne County. The I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges Project is being evaluated as a candidate for bridge tolling. The public may comment on the proposal using a comment form on the project website here.
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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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