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Transportation Chairs Unveil Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan

Last week the House and Senate Republican and Democratic Transportation Chairs were joined at a press conference by more than 100 stakeholders from across the state to unveil their proposal to fund Pennsylvania’s transportation needs. PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch also participated in the event.

The legislation, referred to as “The Bridge to Pennsylvania’s Future,” aims to increase the state’s annual transportation investment by $2.5 billion by following the recommendations made by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

The plan covers investment in highways, bridges, transit, dirt and gravel roads, freight rail, ports and airports, and even bicycle and pedestrian trails.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) said the bill would generate $700 million more than Governor Tom Corbett’s $1.8 billion by lifting the oil franchise tax in three years instead of five, increasing and setting certain fees to inflation, and charging higher fines for some traffic violations. 

While Transportation Secretary Schoch did not give an “endorsement” of the plan, he endorses the bipartisan effort and said it sets the stage for further discussions toward a final plan.

“We’re going to compare it to our bill and do the balancing,” Schoch said. “What’s the balance in what to charge people versus the benefit and that’s what we’re going to look at.”

The Bridge to Pennsylvania’s Future includes:

  • Over a three-year period, gradually phases out the artificial wholesale price cap on fuel under the Oil Company Franchise Tax, which was put in place in 1983. At the same time, reduces by 17% the flat tax paid by consumers over a two-year period.
  • Updates licensing, registration, and permitting fees to reflect inflation. The fees are indexed to inflation going forward to ensure Pennsylvania continues to invest in transportation in the 21st Century.
  • Drivers who violate traffic laws will pay a $100 surcharge, to be invested in transportation.
  • Drivers who are cited with the Section 3111 “catch all” failure to obey traffic control device violation, which carries no points, will see their fine grow from $25 to a sliding scale of $100 to $300, also to be invested in transportation.

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