Friday, October 25, 2013

Keystone State Transportation Funding Still Hangs in the Balance

After a very solid, bipartisan vote for increased transportation funding in the Pennsylvania state Senate in June (45 – 5!), the funding bill’s future is still very much in doubt in the House of Representatives (see press update here).
The Senate bill (SB-1) isn’t perfect and lacks in substantive transportation reform measures.  Nevertheless, it provides a significant funding bump and a real rebound from the Act 44 debacle (which hinged on the failed proposal to toll I-80).
What I find most encouraging is, first, the real bipartisan support for a transportation revenue increase (at least in the Senate) and, second, the willingness to go to the motor fuels tax (although in a roundabout way) for revenue. 
The bill, if passed, will enable PennDOT to invest heavily in attacking the structurally deficient bridge backlog (in which it has the dubious distinction of leading the nation) and to provide stable funding for transit.  Hopefully, PennDOT will also use this as an opportunity (if the bill passes) to take on some other issues: a new Community Transportation Fund (based on the successful Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative of a few years ago), increased bike/ped funding, etc.

Stay tuned!

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