Given that Pennsylvania’s gasoline tax hasn’t increased since 2016, and the federal tax hasn’t increased since 1994, one would be hard-pressed to explain how fuel taxes have contributed to the recent spike in gasoline prices.
They haven’t. Yet a number of state and federal elected officials are proposing to reduce, suspend or eliminate fuel taxes as a way to offset recent price increases.
The poor condition of our transportation infrastructure has been well documented, even before the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
Cutting or eliminating fuel taxes has consequences. When our bridges and highways are in poor shape, we compromise highway safety, and we pay more for increased congestion and vehicle maintenance.
Moreover, a 2020 study showed that, on the average, consumers see only about one-third of fuel tax increases or decreases. That suggests that suspending the entire 18.4-cent federal gas tax would reduce the fuel price only by about 6 cents.
Our friends at Associated Pennsylvania Constructors have developed a brief policy statement on the gas-tax “holiday” issue. To read it, follow this link.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- Two veteran Pennsylvania lawmakers from both parties say they will push for legislation to create a $500 million local bridge trust fund that could offer significant relief to the state’s aging infrastructure and help reduce a backlog of badly deteriorating spans statewide.
- A $9.8 million grant was awarded to SEPTA from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law for the design and creation of two end-of-route bus facilities in South Philadelphia.
- Funding roads and bridges is getting tricky for Pennsylvania with the decline of gas tax revenue, and a plan to toll bridges across the Commonwealth is drawing heavy criticism from state legislators and the public alike.
- Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties are taking the first steps toward creating a Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority, with the aim of restoring a passenger line connecting Reading, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Norristown, and Philadelphia.
- Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh officials are acting quickly to replace the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge. While that has some concerned about a rushed idea for the bridge’s aesthetic, others are sounding the alarm about what an accelerated project could mean for Fern Hollow and Frick Park below.
- PennDOT will have to undergo a federal review process before it moves forward with its plan to toll nine bridges, U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson announced in a press release.
- State Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26th Dist., House Transportation Committee chair, has announced his intention to seek reelection to a 16th term in Harrisburg.