Just a couple of items as we head into the holiday season:
First, as many of you may be aware, the House hearing on the issue of diverting revenue from the Motor License Fund for the State Police budget was postponed this week as legislators needed to turn their attention toward an attempt to achieve a budget agreement. We expect the hearing to be rescheduled, most likely after the first of the year.
Second, two weeks ago we anticipated the enactment of a federal transportation funding measure, and sure enough, by the end of that week it had been signed, sealed and delivered. While it did provide a much-welcomed $305 billion in funding for the next five years, it did not address the structural deficit in the Highway Trust Fund. For that reason, the Coalition and our friends at the PA Highway Information Association will redoubles our efforts to highlight the benefits of the state and federal funding measures that are now in place and position this issue for a sustained funding solution.
So as we turn the page to 2016, transportation funding remains at the top of our agenda. We will remain vigilant and strong in the belief that our quality of life and future prosperity depend on an efficient, modern, multimodal transportation system, here in Pennsylvania and across our entire country.
Transportation Issue Update
- Recent unseasonably warm weather brought out insects, blooming flowers and pothole prevention crews.
- Turnpike CEO and Coalition member Mark Compton says the $1.4 billion project to connect the toll road with I-95 will create jobs and improve access.
- To borrow a line from an old cartoon series, “there’s no need to fear, roundabouts are here.” Crawford County, you’re up.
- One of the provisions of the federal transportation funding measure enacted earlier this month authorizes $95 million dollars for states to conduct research and testing of alternatives to the gas tax. A Vehicle-Miles Traveled approach is thought to be the fairest solution because heavier transportation system users would pay more for maintenance and repairs.
- Dauphin County is considering enacting a $5 vehicle registration fee to help fund local highway and bridge projects in the county. Thus far, only six other counties have taken advantage of a provision of Act 89 that allows counties to levy the additional tax.
- A discount rail fare program in Pennsylvania has been expanded to include Amtrak service to Pittsburgh.