DMVA To Host Virtual Town Hall on Veteran Transportation Issues, Says Boback

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will host the fourth in a five-part series of virtual town hall meetings for veterans on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6-7:30 p.m., according to Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming). The discussion will focus on resources to assist veterans facing transportation issues.

One of the presenters will be Brig. Gen. (PA) Maureen Weigl, DMVA deputy adjutant general for veterans affairs.

“Older veterans and those with a disability often face the challenge of access to health care because of not having proper transportation available to them,” said Weigl. “We want veterans to know that help is available. There are community organizations ready and able to provide veterans with transportation to and from the federal VA and other health care providers.”

Veterans can participate by using a Microsoft Teams link available on the DMVA’s website at They will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters live during the program through the chat feature.

PennDOT Announces Public Open House and Comment Period for Partnership 81 Project

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced the launch of a public comment period from July 26 through August 26, 2022, for the Partnership 81 Project in Luzerne County. An in-person public open house will be held on Wednesday, July 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with formal presentation at 6 p.m. at Wilkes-Barre High School, 2021 Wolfpack Way, Plains, PA 18705, to introduce the project and answer questions from the community.

The Partnership 81 project is a 7.5-mile reconstruction of I-81 from mile marker 161.2 in Hanover Township to mile marker 169 in Wilkes-Barre Township focused on improving regional as well as local transportation needs. The project study area spans from two miles north of the Nuangola exit to approximately one mile north of the Highland Park Boulevard exit. Partnership 81 is currently in the design phase. Once the design is set, the project will be procured as a Public-Private Partnership (P3). There is no tolling anticipated to be included as part of this project. Construction is not expected to begin before 2025.

The Partnership 81 public comment period will provide the community with an opportunity to share feedback and comments based on the preliminary design plans and environmental impacts. Information about the project including a project overview, project displays, and methods to provide comments, will be available to be viewed online beginning July 26, 2022 on the PennDOT District 4 Luzerne County public meeting website at Click on “Partnership 81” in the blue box to review project details and provide feedback via the online comment form. PennDOT staff and design consultants will be available to answer questions at the open house on July 26. Feedback received during the comment period and at the public meeting will be reviewed and taken into consideration by PennDOT.

The project documents can be made available in alternative languages or formats if requested. If you need translation/interpretation services, have special needs, or concerns that require individual attention, please contact Stephen Sartori, Project Manager, at (570) 235-2964, or email at

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, PennDOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. If you feel that you have been denied the benefits of, or participation in a PennDOT program or activity, you may contact the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Equal Opportunity, DBE/Title VI Division at 717-787-5891.

Did You Know You Can Advertise with COLTS?

There’s no better way to showcase your services and products than through public transit advertising. COLTS buses and vans are literally moving billboards!!

Advertising with COLTS is a great way to reach your customers and clients because your ads will have thousands of views each day.

COLTS has opportunities for advertising on both the interior and exterior of our buses and vans, and on our bus shelters.

Contact Gretchen Wintermantel at or (570) 346-2061, ext. 1217, to get started.

Wolf Administration News

Wolf Administration Urges Pennsylvanians to Review Transit Options and Apply for Transportation Assistance Programs, Highlights Importance of Access to Health Care and Jobs

Officials from the Pennsylvania departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) today urged Pennsylvanians to use Find My Ride (FMR) to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs. The participants underscored transit’s critical role in getting people to work and medical appointments while connecting them to their communities.

Public transportation services are available in every county in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Shared ride service in all 67 counties;
  • Fixed route bus service in 49 counties; and
  • Fixed route rail service in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Transit provides a vital connection to jobs, to medical appointments, and to our communities,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Jennie Louwerse. “We urge Pennsylvanians to try transit, and we’re excited that it’s now easier to access these services.”

Citizens are encouraged to use FMR Apply, an online tool which was developed collaboratively with transit agencies and streamlines the application process for the five largest transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA complementary paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities program and the Free Transit Program. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third-parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to apply for services on behalf of a rider.

Collectively, 24.4 million trips supported by these programs were provided to Pennsylvanians in the 2020-21 fiscal year. An additional 141 million trips – including 17.7 million free senior trips – were provided through fixed route service in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Since the rollout of FMR Apply in May 2021 via transit agencies, assistance-program applications have been processed for nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians and benefits to transit agencies, PennDOT, DHS, and customers have been considerable. Customers do not need to determine what programs they are eligible for, and this, coupled with the user-friendly application has resulted in an increase in applications submitted. Automatic data validation within the application has resulted in improved data accuracy, saving transit agencies time and money in processing applications. Transit agencies can process applications more efficiently, which allows transit users to access benefits more quickly. 

“The Wolf Administration is always working to make the services we provide easier to access for the people we serve, and the Find My Ride tool is an excellent example of collaboration between state agencies in making this happen,” said Andrew Barnes, Deputy Executive Secretary for DHS. “Nobody should let a lack of transportation keep you from getting to a doctor’s appointment or filling your prescription. I encourage anyone who needs transportation to their physician, pharmacy, dentist, or other necessary medical services to apply today.”

DHS’ MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds more than 9 million trips annually, and each county provides the type of transportation that is the least expensive while still meeting an individual’s needs. Contact information specific to each county MATP provider can be found at

Accessibility was a key focus when developing FMR Apply, with emphasis on validating color contrast, use of captions, use of assistive reader devices, sentence length, and reading level to evaluate the forms accessibility. User feedback has been extremely positive and has been demonstrated by the continuous increase in online applications.

FMR Apply leverages Keystone Login, a single, secure user credential that can be used to log into multiple Commonwealth online services. The team that developed FMR Apply was recently recognized with a Governor’s Award for Excellence.

Find My Ride’s education and application modules were developed over two years, made possible by $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration and $1 million in state transit funding.

More information on public transit and alternative transportation options like ridesharing, biking, and walking, is available on PennDOT’s website.

Wolf Administration Highlights Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Education Tool for Construction Industry

Today, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) joined the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) to discuss substance use disorder (SUD) in the construction industry, highlight the importance of education and prevention for employees in this field, and to remind them of available safety resources.

“While not often discussed, studies have shown that, when compared to other occupations, employees in the construction field have high rates of overdose deaths,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The risk of on-the-job injury remedied with an opioid prescription increases the chances for those in this field to develop opioid use disorder. We must ensure that employers and employees know about every resource available to them to support individuals suffering from substance use disorder.”

A recent study showed that construction workers prescribed opioids for pain had a higher risk for long‐term opioid use and for developing opioid use disorder (OUD); annually, 15% of workers who were prescribed opioids became long‐term users; and, long-term users were nearly 10 times as likely to develop OUD.

“The importance of employee safety and well-being cannot be overstated,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We need to ensure that we are prioritizing both our employees’ physical and mental health and creating a safe work environment in an effort to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.”

The Wolf Administration’s Just Five initiative is a self-paced program designed to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and provide education about SUD prevention and treatment. It is displayed as six short learning modules that each take “just five” minutes to complete. The interactive lessons include:

  • The Science of Addiction
  • Are You at Risk?
  • The Dangers of Opioids
  • Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
  • How You Can Help
  • The Gift of Recovery

DDAP rolled out a version of Just Five to Pennsylvania commonwealth employees in May 2021 and an additional version of Just Five is now available to all of Pennsylvania’s workforce. Since roll out, the state-wide Just Five tool has had more than 11,000 new users and users have remained engaged with the lessons for an average of 13 minutes per session.

Use of the Just Five website is completely confidential and voluntary, and no personal information regarding utilization of the program is shared. It can be accessed virtually from anywhere at any time with no registration required. The program is also available in English and Spanish and accessible for individuals with visual and/or hearing impairments.

“Our members are committed to having safe workplaces and healthy and productive employees,” said Robert Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors. “We utilize a wide variety of programs and activities aimed at employee wellness, including substance use prevention. We welcome Just Five as a new tool in the health and safety toolbox.”

APC is a membership organization of more than 400 contractors, consulting engineers, material suppliers, manufacturers, and others with an interest in Pennsylvania’s road and bridge construction industry.

DDAP operates the Get Help Now hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The hotline is a trusted resource for individuals and/or their loved ones if substance use disorder treatment or resources are needed. The hotline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals who will connect callers to resources in their community. Callers can also be connected with funding if they need help paying for treatment.

To learn more about the Wolf Administration’s efforts in combating the addiction crisis, visit

Transportation Webinar

Please join the Office of US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Department of Transportation officials for an educational conversation on available grant and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding opportunities through DOT for Pennsylvania communities. Any questions or concerns may be directed to

PennDOT Joins Senator Casey, State and Local Officials in Johnstown to Celebrate Federal Grant Award

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian joined Senator Bob Casey, state Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr., Mayor of Johnstown Frank Janakovic, Johnstown Vision 2025 chair Bill Polacek, Greater Johnstown Regional Partnership president Mark Pasquerilla, and Amtrak Assistant Vice President for Stations and Facilities George Holz to celebrate Johnstown receiving a $24.5 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) for its Iron-to-Arts Corridor project.

The Iron-to-Arts Corridor project will upgrade and connect Johnstown’s three downtown transit systems for visitors, residents, and commuters from all income levels: the Johnstown Train Station, the Inclined Plane transit system, and the Downtown Intermodal Bus Transportation Center. The total cost for the Iron-to-Arts Corridor project is just over $53 million with just under $29 million in state, local, philanthropic, other federal, and Amtrak funding already secured, with the remainder to be covered by the $24.5 million RAISE grant.

“Investment in transportation has historically paid dividends in economic development and thriving communities,” said Gramian. “I applaud Johnstown’s leaders for their strategic vision for this project, and for the growth of their city.”

“Today, I am proud to say that Johnstown can begin to take action on projects vital to the economic health of the region,” said Senator Casey. “Not only will upgrading and restoring transportation hubs allow for more pedestrian movement, these projects will facilitate commutes for workers and increase tourism. As we build back better, investing in our Nation’s infrastructure is absolutely critical. I will continue to advocate for resources to come to Johnstown and southwestern Pennsylvania.”

“Today’s announcement is of historic proportions and will greatly benefit the Greater Johnstown region and beyond. It is a true testament to the bipartisan collaboration across all levels – local, state, and federal. As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and a key advocate for this funding, I look forward to its implementation and the catalyst it will be to spur further economic activity in our region,” said Langerholc.

Renovations for the historic Johnstown Train Station include restoring it as a multimodal center with daily Amtrak, regional rail, and bus transit services. The city also seeks to utilize now-vacant portions of this upgraded station for uses that could include a new Johnstown Visitors’ Center, a healthy food and farmers market, and a retail transit-oriented development expansion, along with the newly-launched headquarters of the Artist-Blacksmiths Association of North America (ABANA) which located there earlier this year.

The RAISE grant will also provide more funding, leveraging PennDOT investment, for the upgrade of the historic Johnstown Inclined Plane, restoring the passenger and vehicle funicular system to full function which will help boost ridership by 300% annually on this central CamTran transit link, further fostering an expanded regional tourism market and new economic development.  

The RAISE grant funding for the CamTran Downtown Bus Intermodal Transportation Center will design and construct upgrades to this central hub for bus transit with passenger safety upgrades, station improvements, and mobility connections to the surrounding catchment area.

The RAISE grant for the Iron-to-Arts Corridor will also provide the funding needed to connect these transit hubs with complete street and pedestrian and bicycle trail upgrades, a component called the “Main Street Greenway & Urban Connectivity” initiative.  This component of the project will improve walkability with 0.5 miles of complete street upgrades on Main Street including sidewalk, traffic calming, transit stop enhancements, ADA-accessibility, green infrastructure, and streetscape improvements. RAISE funding will also help this project connect key downtown segments of the Path of the Flood Trail and the Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail, which will join these three transit hubs and key community anchors, as well as link Johnstown to the National 9/11 trail.

RAISE grants, formerly known as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants, fund projects that help build or repair critical pieces of freight or passenger transportation networks. Projects for RAISE funding are evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. Projects are prioritized that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs.

For additional information about PennDOT’s multimodal program, please visit the Projects and Programs section of PennDOT’s website.

PennDOT Receives Concurrence on Transportation Funding Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has finalized its PennDOT Pathways Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study after receiving concurrence from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A PEL Study is a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers several factors, including the environment, community and economic goals.

PennDOT conducted the study to identify possible near-term and long-term solutions to the funding gap our transportation system faces. The PEL Study evaluated the feasibility of various funding options for near- and long-term implementation and established a methodology for evaluating environmental justice effects associated with each.

The study will serve as a guide as PennDOT pursues and implements alternative funding strategies to help support our entire transportation system. The most near-term funding needs are in PennDOT’s highway and bridge programs, but there are significant needs across all transportation modes. The findings of the PEL Study will help guide the implementation of future funding strategies and can be modified as needs evolve.

The PEL Study is designed to bridge the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the planning process for a project or initiative. FHWA provided its concurrence with the study’s findings, which is an important step to advancing the alternative funding initiatives.

A draft of the PennDOT Pathways PEL Study was made available for public review and comment in Spring 2021. PennDOT received 342 comments during the public comment period, which lasted from April 29 – June 1, 2021. These comments are captured in Appendix D of the final PEL Study and will be used to inform decisions moving forward.

The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), which was established by Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order on March 12, 2021, received a briefing on the draft PEL Study. The draft PEL Study was also used as a resource for the Commission’s report on potential options that will reduce Pennsylvania’s reliance on state and federal gas taxes to fund transportation, presented to Governor Wolf on July 30, 2021.

For additional information on transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at and like the department on Facebook at and Instagram at

PennDOT Announces Public Comment Period for Transportation Plans

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced the launch of a Public Comment Period for the draft 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and Freight Movement Plan (FMP). The plans are available for review through October 19, 2021. The LRTP sets an overall strategic direction for Pennsylvania’s transportation system for twenty years and the FMP reviews current and future trends in freight transportation to improve multimodal freight movement for five years.

The LRTP and FMP represent a multi-modal approach to improve mobility, safety, fairness, resilience, and sustainability for moving people and goods throughout the Commonwealth.

“For the past two years, PennDOT has been working closely with our fellow state agencies, local officials and our partners in the private sector to shape a vision for Pennsylvania’s transportation future that supports continuing economic growth and opportunity, connectivity, thriving communities, a cleaner environment and safe travel,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We now need Pennsylvanians to join this conversation to help us make these plans even more responsive to future public needs.”

Public and stakeholder involvement is critical to understanding the needs and concerns across the commonwealth. Pennsylvanians already provided essential feedback and perspective which is reflected in the draft plan documents. In fact, broad engagement with underrepresented interests resulted in wide-ranging feedback, so much so that a major goal and objectives specific to equity are a key part of the LRTP.

Gramian added that the value of these plans will only be as good as their implementation, and that will require sufficient funding resources during the decades ahead.

“Whether we are speaking about more efficient freight movement, modernized public transit, reduced highway congestion or increased options for bicyclists and pedestrians, these improvements are only possible with a public commitment to a sustained level of investment for years to come,” Gramian said. “How we accomplish that equitably is an important part of this conversation, too.”

PennDOT encourages the public to review the draft LRTP and FMP and to provide comments. These documents along with a comment form will be available online under Tell Us What You Think at and at public library locations throughout the state. Any questions or concerns regarding the comment period may be sent by email to Those without access to the internet may request printed copies by calling 717-705-1478. 

The Public Comment Period for the 2045 LRTP and FMP is in accordance with PennDOT’s Public Participation Plan, outlining opportunities for public input in statewide transportation planning and programming as required by the Code of Federal Regulations (23 CFR 450.210). All comments received will be reviewed and taken into consideration by PennDOT for inclusion in the final plans.

Anyone who requires special assistance to participate, please contact the PennDOT Bureau of Equal Opportunity at 717-787-5891.

PennDOT Accepting Applications For 2022-23 Improvements Under Multimodal Transportation Fund

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that applications will be accepted to fund new transportation improvement projects under the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) through November 5, 2021. 

“The Multimodal Transportation Fund continues to enhance connectivity across our state,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Projects are selected based on regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, safety benefits, energy efficiency, operational sustainability and job creation.”

Eligible applicants include municipalities, council of governments, business/non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities.

Projects that will be considered should coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities; improve streetscape, lighting, sidewalk facilities, and pedestrian safety; improve connectivity or utilization of existing transportation assets; or advance transit-oriented-development.

To submit a 2022-23 state fiscal year Multimodal Transportation Fund application, visit PennDOT’s “Multimodal Program” page and click on the currently “Accepting Applications” link. Grant recipients are expected to be announced next year, and funding will become available in July 2022.

In fiscal year 2021-2022, 43 projects were awarded $45.9 million in MTF funding throughout 21 counties, including construction of a pedestrian route with ADA curb cuts connecting existing sidewalk in Patterson Township, Beaver County; reconstruction of a collapsed portion of Wagontown Road in Valley Township, Chester County; replacement of Bridge No. 31, which has been poor condition since 1991 in Greene County; and the replacement of traffic signal and safety improvements at four intersections along 15th Street in the City of Allentown.

Act 89 of 2013 established a dedicated Multimodal Transportation Fund that stabilizes funding for ports and rail freight, increases aviation investments, establishes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and allows targeted funding for priority investments in any mode.

For more information about the program and previous years’ applications and awards, visit the Multimodal Program page.