On Monday, several members of our Coalition, along with other transportation advocates, met with Congressman Scott Perry (R-York). Congressman Perry is a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
At nearly the same time, the Trump administration was releasing its long-awaited federal infrastructure proposal. As most of you know, the KTFC has been meeting periodically with all members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, and we pay particular attention to those who serve on the T&I Committee.
The president proposed to leverage about $1.5 trillion during the next decade to address the nation’s infrastructure needs. That sum is certainly in the ballpark of the resources required to do the job.
However, the Trump proposal calls for a federal share of only $200 billion over 10 years, with state and local governments responsible for raising the rest. And, the plan does not identify a specific source for the $200 billion, either.
Our friends at Associated Pennsylvania Constructors noted that 40 percent of our highway program revenue comes from the federal Highway Trust Fund. That source is projected to be depleted in 2021, and there were no provisions in the Trump plan to keep the trust fund solvent. Failure to do so would cut Pennsylvania’s federal funding by about one-third.
So the infrastructure plan was met with a measure of disappointment, here and elsewhere. Even Congressman Perry expressed disappointment that the proposal did not outline ways to pay for the $1.5 trillion package.
However, we choose to see it as a starting point, with the hope that Congress will muster a bipartisan consensus and turn the proposal into a solid blueprint that will provide Pennsylvania and the country with the means to address our infrastructure needs. That is the message we will deliver as we continue our dialog with our congressional delegation.
To read the 55-page Trump infrastructure plan, click here.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- POLITICO had a thorough overview of the Trump plan, including some initial insight into how the issue could shape up politically.
- POLITICO also reported that the president endorsed a 25-cents-per-gallon increase in the federal fuel tax in a meeting with members of Congress. The current 18.4-cents federal tax has not been raised since 1993.
- Governor Wolf’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year reduces the amount to be diverted from the Motor License Fund to support State Police operations by more than $8 million.
- Part of Governor Wolf’s 2018-19 budget proposal would steer more money toward fixing rural, low-traffic roads and locally owned bridges.
- Coming off a record year in 2017, PhilaPort expects to repeat the feat again this year.
- Governor Wolf announced funding for 45 multimodal transportation projects in 22 communities.
- PennDOT is looking for feedback for its bicycle-pedestrian master plan.
- The Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project moves forward with delivery of the first girders for the project’s nearly mile-long bridge. The thruway section that includes the bridge is expected to open in 2022.