Dear KTFC Members & Friends:
The Southwest Partnership for Mobility has released its report outlining the region’s transportation needs as the expiration of a $400 million annual subsidy from the Turnpike for public transportation draws nearer.
The report calls for a sustainable solution to the region’s funding needs to enable economic growth to continue. As did a similar study of the Philadelphia region, the report suggests that local officials be given the authority to raise revenue locally to meet transportation funding needs.
The partnership included transportation agencies, local elected officials, major employers and civic leaders and was co-chaired by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and Katharine Kelleman, CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also had a significant hand in the report.
To view the report, click here.
Our public transportation friends are not alone in seeking more stability for transportation funding. At present, more than a fifth of the revenue from fuel taxes is being diverted for non-highway uses. The highway construction industry is pushing a three-pronged initiative that consists of 1) accelerating the reductions in diversions from the Motor License Fund used to support State Police operations, 2) funding the start-up costs for REAL ID from the current budget surplus instead of from the Motor License Fund, and 3) establishing an annual fee for electric vehicles as a replacement for fuel taxes to assure that they contribute to the upkeep of roads and bridges.
Be of Good Cheer,
— The Wolff
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill that would allow local police to use radar for speed enforcement. It awaits approval by the full Senate before moving to the House.
- The Senate Transportation Committee also approved legislation that would lift the requirement for annual emission inspections on vehicles up to eight years old. Proponents note that the failure rate for newer vehicles is less than 2 percent.
- The House Transportation Committee advanced a bill that would prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Violators would be subject to fines of $200.
- Count Amtrak as another transportation entity whose services would suffer if the Turnpike’s $400 annual subsidy is not replaced.
- Traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania were up slightly in 2018, but were still the third-fewest since statistics began to be kept.