November 20, 2013

House Reverses, Passes Transportation Funding Amendment

The House Tuesday approved an amendment to House Bill 106 (Carroll-D-Monroe) by a vote of 104 to 95, which would raise $2.3 billion in transportation funding by FY 2017-18-- $1.65 billion for highways and bridges, $476 million for mass transit and $144 million for a new Multimodal Transportation Fund.
The action reverses a 103 to 98 vote Monday rejecting the same funding package.
The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee after the House Floor vote, but Capitolwire is reporting the plan is to amend identical language into House Bill 770 (Adolph-R-Delaware), now in the Senate Appropriations Committee, for Senate passage today and House concurrence before the end of this week.
The plan uncaps the Oil Company Franchise Tax in steps over five years which is estimated at current prices to increase gasoline prices by 25 to 28 cents per gallon. Vehicle registration fees and driver’s license fees are increased.  A surcharge is imposed on traffic tickets and certain fines are increased.
The new Intermodal Fund will providing $10 million in annual funding for rail freight projects by FY 2014-15 and $2 million annually for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, among other purposes.  The bill includes a provision consolidating PennDOT deputates and creates a Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation.
The plan includes a $30 million increase to the Dirt and Gravel Road Program bringing the total funding to $35 million annually-- $28 million to the State Conservation Commission and $7 million to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Fish and Boat Commission will receive funds from the Oil Company Franchise Tax based on the amount of fuel used by power motorboats.
The amendment also included a limited reform of the prevailing wage increasing the threshold for projects it applies to $100,000 from $25,000.
Click Here for a detailed summary of the amendment.  Click Here for a spreadsheet on the new funding.