November 22, 2013

Senate, House Send $2.3 Billion Transportation Funding Plan To Governor

The House and Senate this week gave final approval to House Bill 1060 (Pyle-R-Armstrong) that would raise $2.3 billion in transportation funding by FY 2017-18-- $1.3 billion for highways and bridges, at least $480 million for mass transit and $144 million for a new Multimodal Transportation Fund.  The bill is now on the Governor’s desk and he announced plans to sign the bill next 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  Intermodal Fund will provide $8 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 plan also establishes a new $2/sticker fee for vehicles exempt from the vehicle emissions testing program which drive fewer than 5,000 miles a year.
The amendment also included a limited reform of the prevailing wage increasing the threshold for projects it applies to $100,000 from $25,000.
A House Fiscal Note (better one) and Senate Fiscal Note summary of the bill are available.