Dear KTFC Members & Friends:
Today I want to let you know of our plans to begin a new funding initiative for the various modes of transportation that constitute our Commonwealth’s transportation system.
The impetus for this stems from our very productive Coalition meeting this week, during which we quickly reached a consensus that it is time to act. We’re seeing:
- Declining highway construction lettings.
- Declining public transportation ridership.
- An Act 44-induced financial cliff that will reduce the Turnpike Commission’s subsidy to public transportation by $400 million per year.
- Continued diversion of revenue from the Motor License Fund to support General Fund revenue gaps. (The diversion is being gradually reduced, but it still is well over $600 million per year.)
- A significant drop in fuel tax revenue due to improving fuel efficiency and less travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Inflationary forces that raise the cost of construction materials.
These factors have been in play for some time – frankly, from the moment more than seven years ago that Act 89 was signed into law. As we pondered them, it dawned on us that from the time the funding measure went into effect, 60 percent of the General Assembly has changed.
So, we have a big job ahead of us in reaching out and educating the lawmakers that are relatively new, and certainly new to this issue. If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it is the feeling that conducting this outreach virtually will be more efficient and flexible than it was in 2013.
We will keep you posted as we move this initiative forward.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- With a 7% increase in container volume last year, PhilaPort has become the fastest-growing port on the East Coast.
- Aviation workers who work in close proximity to one another and/or the traveling public are concerned about the lack of coronavirus vaccine access.
- The PA Motor Truck Association said a PennDOT plan to toll restored and replaced bridges through a public-private partnership could end up costing drivers $1,000 per year.
- Governor Wolf has once again included in his planned budget the idea of charging municipalities a fee for State Police services. This time, all municipalities would pay, not just those who have no local police force.
- The U.S. Senate has confirmed Pete Buttigieg as U.S. transportation secretary.
- The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is raising the tolls on eight of its bridges between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this year and in 2024.