Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Solving Pennsylvania Transportation Woes

Governor Rendell has called for a special session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate, starting May 4. The purpose of the session will be to address Pennsylvania's transportation woes.

Pennsylvania had budgeted $472 million under the assumption that I-80 would be tolled.  The application to toll I-80, however, was denied by the federal government.  The result is a massive hole in the Pennsylvania budget that now must be filled.

Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure is in dire straits.  Pennsylvania has more bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obselete than any other state - it also has some of the oldest bridges in the nation. 

How that $472 million will be generated, however, is anybody's guess.  Possible ideas include bonding, borrowing, gas tax increases and other fee increases.  Unfortunately, there seems to be no consensus on the issue at the moment.

Anyone out there have any good ideas?

2 comments:

Jon Geeting said...

The state should raise the gas tax. It hasn't been raised since 1993, and hasn't kept pace with inflation. I-80 raised the money from individual motorists, and the new fix should also raise the money from individual motorists.

Anonymous said...

The state gas tax was last raised in 1997.

The Transportation Funding and Reform Commission (directed in 2005 to examine the funding crisis plaguing Pennsylvania’s highway, bridge and transit systems) came up with several good ideas. The state legislature chose to ignore it.
Here it is:
http://pddevdom2k302/Internet/pdCommissCommitt.nsf/TransCommissHomepage?OpenFrameset&Frame=main&src=HomePageTransFundReformComm?openForm

They could easily raise the gas tax by 10 cents, raise vehicle registrations by $10 (est. 11.3 million vehicles), raise driver licensing fees by $5 (est. 12 million drivers in PA) and easily make up the $472M. However, whatever they do should include an inflationary index that would increase these fees/taxes as the cost of living goes up. Then we should not have a crisis come back every 10-15 years.