Dear KTFC Members & Friends:
This week I am happy to report – finally – that Pennsylvania no longer has the highest state fuel taxes in the country. California’s July 1 gas-tax increase took care of that.
We knew it was just a matter of time, as other states around the country acquiesce to the reality that our transportation infrastructure is in poor shape, and that it must be fixed.
And the fact is that although many other states have lower fuel taxes, they supplement their highway budgets with General Fund transfers, or borrowing, or both.
Pennsylvania doesn’t do that – in fact, it’s the opposite as lawmakers divert revenue from what is supposed to be a constitutionally protected transportation users fund to subsidize State Police operations and for other non-highway uses.
Since we’re sharing positive transportation funding news, I should also mention that Sen. Joe Pittman is circulating a memo soliciting co-sponsors for a bill that would accelerate the reduction of Motor License Fund transfers for other uses. We’ll keep you posted as Senator Pittman’s measure begins its legislative journey.
Be of Good Cheer,
— The Wolff
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- After four years of having the highest state fuel taxes in the country, Pennsylvania has been surpassed by California for that distinction.
- The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved a $287 billion plan to fund transportation infrastructure. We’ll see if Congress can figure out how to pay for it and marshal agreement in the full Senate, House and with the White House.
- Our fellow Coalition member, Ross Willard, is looking for a new Harrisburg home for his Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg operations, which strives to ensure that all residents of the greater Harrisburg area – especially those of limited means – have access to safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation in the form of bicycles.
- The Luzerne County Transportation Authority will rebrand itself as the Northeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (or NEPTA) as it acquires the former Murray Complex in Wilkes-Barre, transforming it into a transportation center.
- State Rep. Lou Schmitt, R-Altoona, will bring the House Transportation Committee to Altoona in August for a hearing about the future of freight and passenger trains in the state.
- The City of Pittsburgh has launched public engagement efforts to develop a transportation vision plan. PGH MOBILITY 2070 will establish a framework to guide investment, development, and management in a network of transportation infrastructure, information, and services that could support the city’s needs.
- PennDOT and the Turnpike will begin placing automated speed enforcement units in construction zones this fall, and they will include I-78 in Berks County.
- PennDOT and its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project development partner, Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners, recently started construction on the 558th and final bridge in the program.