Rarely does a day go by without sharp commentary regarding the failure of Congress to address transportation funding needs at the federal level.
Instead of enacting a multiyear funding measure, federal lawmakers have now kicked the proverbial can down the road 34 times over the last several years, opting for temporary fixes lasting only a few months. These band-aids make it virtually impossible for transportation planners to develop a long-term approach to addressing transportation needs and make any meaningful progress in restoring our transportation system to an acceptable level.
Generally, most states rely on federal funding for around half of their funding needs, but revenue from the 18-cent per gallon federal fuel tax has dwindled, having not been raised since 1993 while vehicles consume less fuel due to improving mileage standards.
This week, the Associated Press reported that approximately one-third of the states are in the process of doing what Pennsylvania did in 2013 – boosting revenue for transportation. The AP’s reports are among the news links below.
While PA and other states are wise to address their own transportation needs, the Federal Government plays an important role in assuring that all Americans have access to a modern, efficient transportation system. The Coalition will continue to push for Congress to do its share to make that happen.
Transportation Issue Update
- Here’s the Associated Press article on the steps that various states are taking due to congressional inaction on transportation funding.
- Here is the Associated Press listing of what individual states have done this year to boost transportation funding.
- Congress continues to be pilloried for failing to enact a multiyear federal transportation funding bill.
- Responding to concerns about the danger of shipping crude oil via rail across the state, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the completion of a study that contains 27 recommendations for improving the level of safety.
- A National Safety Council study says the number of fatal accidents is increasing in PA and across the country. Some theorize that distracted driving may be the reason.
- A three-month closure of Route 11 and 15 in Perry County simply cannot be avoided, according to PennDOT. Shoring up the rock slope is too hazardous to maintain traffic flow, leading to a 27-mile detour.
- Technology that will enable state and local officials to assess the condition of roadways more accurately and less expensively is being developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.
- Among transportation projects that are now moving forward but wouldn’t be without Act 89 is a mile-long bridge spanning the Susquehanna River in Snyder County
- Another example is a $7.2 million project to repave 17 miles of state highway in Delaware County.
- Some law enforcement representatives are urging the General Assembly to repeal a measure that would eliminate license plate registration stickers. Certain editorial pages contend that the decals are unnecessary, and eliminating them will save money.
- A program called “FindMyRidePA” that helps people figure out how to get from place to place using various transportation modes has expanded to a seven-county pilot program in the South Central Region.
- In public transportation consolidation news, a study in the South Central Region is moving forward while a Northeast Region study has stalled.