Dear KTFC Members & Friends:
Last week, the Coalition had the opportunity to host PA Sen. Joe Pittman (R-Indiana), the prime sponsor of a bill that would accelerate the rollback of the revenue that is being diverted from the Motor License Fund.
The revenue in the Motor License Fund comes essentially from user fees – fuel taxes and license and registration fees. That revenue is to be used for highway purposes, but the Commonwealth had been shifting a growing amount to help support State Police operations.
In 2016, the diverted amount was capped at $801 million and was to be rolled back by 4 percent per year over a 10-year period, until it is reduced to about $500 million. Senator Pittman’s bill would shorten the rollback to four years from the eight years remaining. As it stands, the diverted amount constitutes the equivalent of about 12 cents per gallon, about one-fifth of the total.
The Coalition and the construction industry are hopeful that the measure will be approved. While reducing the diverted amount clear down to zero still would not eliminate the entire highway funding gap, it would be a good start. We thank Senator Pittman for his legislative initiative and for visiting with us to discuss it.
Be of Good Cheer,
— The Wolff
TRANSPORTATION ISSUE UPDATE
- A bill introduced by Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) would allow county infrastructure banks to apply for loans from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank. The state bank would provide lower interest rates and special terms that are otherwise unavailable to a county infrastructure bank.
- An Interstate 80 exit to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the Poconos is closed in both directions until late May to repair the on and off ramps.
- The long-awaited automated speed enforcement pilot project in highway work zones has begun ticketing motorists who drive through the zones at more than 11 miles per hour over the speed limit. As was the case in Maryland, we expect the program to change driver behavior and make the work zones safer for construction workers.
- The Allentown Service Center fuel pumps on the Northeast Extension will be closed until late May to replace fuel tanks and dispensers.
- The Elizabethtown College newspaper published a nice article on prominent alumna and PA Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), who headed the House Republican Caucus task force on transportation funding last fall. Regular readers of this newsletter will recall that Ms. White recently briefed the Coalition on the task force’s report.
- Advocates of personal electric vehicles, or PEVs, say having a shared e-scooter program similar to Philadelphia’s current bike-share program would benefit commuters and tourists that need to go that extra mile public transportation just can’t provide. However, the scooters are not legal in Pennsylvania.