Government Transportation

PennDOT Secretary Talks Route 1 Overhaul, Self-Driving Vehicles


Credit: John Fey/NewtownPANow.com

TMA Bucks celebrated 20 years of bringing transportation education and services to the Bucks County region last Friday. The event was held by the Warrington Country Club and sponsored by local businesses such as Parx Casino, Traffic Planning and Design, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC.)

Among those present were State Rep. Wendy Ullman, Executive Director of DVRPC Barry Seymour, and TMA Bucks staff David Walter, Brandon Shaw, and Ashley Sulon. Other people present included William Tennent High School teacher Dina McCaffery and McMahon Associates’ Transportation Engineers & Planners’ Senior Project Manager Mark Roth, who were both given awards from TMA Bucks for their contributions to the community in regards to transportation education and regulations.

The organization was founded in 1999 and serves communities around the county. 

Executive Director Stephen Noll introducing the event.
Credit: John Fey/NewtownPANow.com

Executive Director Stephen Noll thanked all the sponsors who have worked with TMA Bucks in the past 20 years.

“To those of you that are members, thank you,” he added. 

The main discussion being held at The Warrington was the future of PennDOT.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, a former Montgomery County Commissioner, was present to discuss the state agency’s plans for the next few years and what the organization has achieved in the last few years. She began by discussing her experiences in the transportation industry, starting in 2005, and continuing onto the position she has held since being appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2015.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards speaking.
Credit: TMA Bucks

Richards said she has been keeping herself busy lately. The day before, she cut the ribbon on a new passageway for the Delaware Canal State Park towpath, making travel through the embankment easier on those in the Falls Township area. 

To Richards, teamwork is everything, especially in regards to the people PennDOT helps on a day to day basis.

“We can be partners with our local communities,” she said, explaining how she and her agency have been helping Pennsylvania communities not just with transportation, but with rebuilding communities from a physical and social standpoint.

Richards discussed how PennDOT has been a leading organization in the fight to stop human trafficking in the state, and how the organization is the “highest employer of people with disabilities.” She also discussed how PennDOT is a leading employer or former inmates and how they assist them in getting reacquainted with the outside world.

“Not only do we train inmates, but we are also making sure that they leave with a PennDOT ID,” something that will be a major helping hand in how inmates will make a new start for themselves, she said. 

Among other topics discussed by Richards was the construction and improvements being made to Route 1. She predicts a 2022 completion date for everything to be done. On the topic of the costs, she mentioned the funding for the project being insufficient. A predicted $7.2 million of additional funds could be needed for the repairs and construction.

“It is not enough,” she said. 

Richards highlighted PennDOT’s work in the field of self-driving vehicles and said the state was a leader in the country. She also pointed to priorities like serving pedestrians, bicyclists, and those who take public transportation.

The luncheon concluded with awards being presented by TMA Bucks leadership to McCaffery and Roth.


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