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Gov. Wolf Commits To Phasing Out Gas Tax, Announces Commission To Develop Funding Solutions


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Governor Wolf Commits to Phasing Out Gas Tax, Announces Commission to Develop Funding Solutions

March 12, 2021 3:15 pm·
Author: Aly Delp
 

20190221-governor-wolf-speaking.jpgHARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf on Friday reiterated his commitment to phase out Pennsylvania’s gas tax, which is becoming an unreliable source for funding Pennsylvania’s vast transportation network.

To make this possible and to further address the state’s transportation funding needs, the governor has also signed an Executive Order establishing the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, which will develop comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania’s large and aging infrastructure.

“Our economy, our communities, and our future rely on a strong transportation system that supports our safety and growth. We have more than $9 billion in annual unmet needs across our state-maintained transportation system alone. At the same time, Pennsylvania is relying too much on outdated, unreliable funding methods, and the federal government hasn’t taken meaningful action in decades,” Gov. Wolf said.

“Phasing out the burdensome gas tax, coupled with seeking long-term reliable funding solutions that will keep pace with our infrastructure needs, deserves a close examination. Forming this bipartisan commission will bring multiple, bipartisan voices to the table to ensure that we can examine reliable, sustainable revenue solutions to address both near-term and long-term funding needs.”

Pennsylvania has one of the largest state-owned transportation networks in the country, with nearly 40,000 miles of roads and over 25,400 bridges under its direct purview. PennDOT also oversees aviation, rail freight, public transportation, ports, pedestrian and bicycle programs.

In 2019, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) identified major risks to transportation funding such as reduced fuel revenues, unpredictable federal funding, and legislative changes to reduce commitments.

PennDOT’s latest assessment places the annual gap of its needs in all modes and facilities at $9.3 billion, growing to an annual $14.5 billion gap by 2030.

Further, as more fuel-efficient cars and technologies are created, reliance on the gas tax for state revenue is less and less dependable. Any phase out of the gas tax will need to be coupled with new or replacement revenue.

The Transportation Revenue Options Commission is comprised of transportation, economic, and community stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, including majority and minority leaders from the House and Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees. PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian will serve as commission chair.

The commission will have its first meeting by March 25 and a report of commission activities and funding options will be submitted to the Governor before Aug. 1, 2021.

The following individuals were invited to join the commission, with additional representatives from transportation’s varied stakeholders to be invited before the first meeting:

  • Rep. Stan Saylor, Chair, House Appropriations Committee;
  • Rep. Matthew Bradford, Minority Chair, House Appropriations Committee;
  • Sen. Pat Browne, Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee;
  • Sen. Vincent Hughes, Minority Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee;
  • Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Chair, Senate Transportation Committee;
  • Sen. John Sabatina, Minority Chair, Senate Transportation Committee;
  • Rep. Tim Hennessey, Chair, House Transportation Committee;
  • Rep. Mike Carroll, Minority Chair, House Transportation Committee;
  • Gene Barr, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry;
  • Carl Belke, Keystone State Railroad Association (KSRRA);
  • Becky Bradley, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission;
  • Sarah Clark Stuart, Pennsylvania Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee;
  • Howard Cohen, Temple University, Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Board;
  • Mark Compton, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission;
  • Patricia Cowley, Pennsylvania Bus Association;
  • Secretary Dennis Davin, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development;
  • Ronald Drnevich, State Transportation Commission;
  • Secretary Cindy Dunn, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources;
  • Colonel Robert Evanchick, Pennsylvania State Police;
  • Rich Fitzgerald; Allegheny County Executive;
  • James Harper Jr., Laborers’ International Union of North America;
  • Katherine Kelleman, Port Authority of Allegheny County;
  • Amy Kessler, North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission;
  • James Kunz, International Union of Operating Engineers;
  • Mike Glezer, Wagman;
  • Jeffrey L. Iseman, Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council;
  • Robert Latham, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors;
  • Brock Myers, Alan Myers;
  • Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection;
  • Rebecca Oyler, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association;
  • Secretary Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture;
  • Leslie Richards, Southeastern Public Transit Authority;
  • Shawna Russell, Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association;
  • Dave Sanko, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors;
  • Bob Shaffer, Aviation Advisory Committee;
  • Leeann Sherman, American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania;
  • Karl Singleton, Pennsylvania Diversity Coalition;
  • Secretary Jen Swails, Office of Budget;
  • Andrew Swank, Swank Construction;
  • Jerry Sweeney, Southeast Partnership for Mobility;
  • Secretary Robert Torres, Pennsylvania Department of Aging; and,
  • George Wolff, Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition.

“I am grateful to all the commission members for contributing their time and expertise to this critical issue,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We must work together to find sustainable, future-focused funding solutions that will keep Pennsylvanians moving.”

For more information about transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit www.PennDOT.gov/funding.                                                                                                                                                                                               https://explorejeffers.wpengine.com/governor-wolf-commits-to-phasing-out-gas-tax-announces-commission-to-develop-funding-solutions/

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Anything that increases the cost of distribution is going to raise the price of food and everything else. It is just a case of shifting cost from one source to another and the taxpayer will pay for it ultimately. If the gas tax is removed the oil companies will be free to charge more without pricing themselves out of the market. It's a no-win situation for the taxpayer no matter how you look at it. 

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cmon kids...Tommy will not "remove" the gas tax, they'll lower it but also toll everything and a couple other things cause they need the reduced gas tax income. Everyone will sing their high praises for lowering the gas tax. In a few years when they have given all the "extra" toll (whatever) money away for a museum to three legged roosters.  Only then will the gas tax come back with a vengeance because "the highways are in such poor condition".   

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2 hours ago, lavender said:

Anything that increases the cost of distribution is going to raise the price of food and everything else. It is just a case of shifting cost from one source to another and the taxpayer will pay for it ultimately. If the gas tax is removed the oil companies will be free to charge more without pricing themselves out of the market. It's a no-win situation for the taxpayer no matter how you look at it. 

YEP 

Have you noticed that not one word has been said about trying to cut costs?

Just spend spend spend.

 

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1 hour ago, DS58 said:

cmon kids...Tommy will not "remove" the gas tax, they'll lower it but also toll everything and a couple other things cause they need the reduced gas tax income. Everyone will sing their high praises for lowering the gas tax. In a few years when they have given all the "extra" toll (whatever) money away for a museum to three legged roosters.  Only then will the gas tax come back with a vengeance because "the highways are in such poor condition".   

Nailed it.

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Guest Soccermom

Why is a man with the Pennsylvania Diversity Coalition and a man who owns a highway contruction company part of this commission?

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13 hours ago, pstan said:

Sounds great.   Anyone believe that this is really going to happen? 

They have proposed this before.  The alternative to the fuel tax will likely be having to pay the same amount per miles traveled when you reregister your vehicle each year.


Instead of whatever cents per gallon spread out across the year, you will pay whatever cent per mile with a likely minimum fee to start out with.

Either way we will get screwed.

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