It’s not a perfect solution, but at least some folks in Washington are kicking around an idea for propping up the federal share for transportation funding.
The proposal, detailed in the first news link below, would increase the federal gasoline tax and index it to inflation, but offset that cost to motorists by allowing them to claim the additional money they spend as a tax credit. In other words, in theory, it wouldn’t cost anyone anything.
In reality, it would reduce revenue for programs and services funded from other parts of the federal budget, so it’s not as though the proposal would be painless. Then again, our transportation infrastructure is in considerable pain resulting from Congress’ lack of will to raise the federal gas tax since 1993, and the fact that it has lost about a third of its purchasing power to inflation.
At some point, Congress must recognize that our transportation system is in poor shape, and they have an obligation to fix it. American commerce and our future prosperity depends on it.
Transportation Issue Update
- An op-ed article by Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lays out a proposal for increasing federal transportation funds by moderately increasing the gas tax and indexing it to inflation, while offsetting that cost with an income tax credit to cover what an average driver will spend in additional gas taxes.
- “Complete streets” is a concept gaining traction in some locales. It slows cars down, reworking roads to accommodate bicyclists, transit users and pedestrians, including people pushing baby strollers and riding in wheelchairs.
- PennDOT’s Office of Public Private Partnerships is accepting unsolicited proposals for transportation projects through the end of the month.
- With federal transportation funding expiring at the end of the month, the outlook for a solution or even another extension appears murky at best.
- Closer to home, our friends at Associated PA Constructors expressed their concern about the siphoning off of transportation dollars from the Motor License Fund for programs that should be supported by the General Fund.
- The next step for the Turnpike Commission’s move toward cashless interchanges will be next year with pilot programs on the Beaver Valley Expressway and the Delaware River Bridge in Bucks County.
- In port news, Philly mayoral candidates are discussing the best way to develop the 200-acre parcel at the Port of Philadelphia known as Southport.
- A broad, new focus on transportation across western Pennsylvania could help the region land more state and federal money for major projects, local officials believe.