The long and contentious process of finishing a state budget has finally ended as lawmakers and Governor Wolf agreed to a revenue package to support the spending plan that the General Assembly approved four months ago.
The compromise included significant expansion of gambling in the state, a significant amount of borrowing and $300 million in transfers from unspecified off-budget funds.
At one point, the plan was to divert $400 million from the multimodal transportation and public transportation funds. That number later dropped to $100 million, but specific sources were stripped from the final bill, leaving it to the governor’s discretion.
The process revealed how vulnerable “dedicated” funds are to re-appropriation. It also underscores the need for vigilance among those of us whose constituencies we represent as KTFC members.
Whether the governor diverts revenue from the aforementioned transportation funds or finds another way to balance the General Fund budget may not be known for some time. We will keep you posted.
Transportation Issue Update
- Congressman Bill Shuster says there is little appetite in Congress to increase the federal gas tax, but that members could get behind an increase if President Trump becomes an advocate.
- The state Senate is expected to vote on a resolution to study the feasibility of merging the Turnpike with PennDOT. If the Senate approves, the report would be due in 18 months.
- PennDOT will apply for a federal grant to fund a high-speed interchange between I-80 and I-99.