Corbett transportation funding plan falls short of panel proposal

    The transportation funding plan presented by Gov. Tom Corbett in his budget address falls a bit shy of what one of his appointed commissions had proposed.

    The president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association notes the plan deviates from what his transportation advisory council suggested in 2011. Jim Runk, who also served on the advisory commission, says the panel offered a formula to generate $2.5 billion a year to partially fill a $3.5 billion annual funding gap.

    Corbett’s plan, on the other hand, is expected to yield $500,000 in the coming fiscal year.

    Runk isn’t slamming the governor’s initiative, but he chooses his words carefully when asked if he’s skeptical of the plan’s ability to generate enough revenue.

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    “I think you’re probably right, however, I know that the governor has other issues he has to deal with,” he said Wednesday. “I think this is a first good step. It’s not the kind of money that we came up with in the commission, but it’s a first good step to get started.”

    Corbett’s proposal hinges on two things — lifting the cap on the wholesale gas tax paid by gas stations, while lowering another tax on the price of gas paid directly by motorists.

    But the plan leaves out other recommendations passed along by the special commission, such as increasing license and registration fees to generate more revenue.

    Runk says he hopes lawmakers consider such moves, even if they’re not in the governor’s budget plan.

    Pennsylvania AAA is asking lawmakers to boost transportation funding, pointing to the 42 percent of state bridges that are structurally deficient and the 43 percent of its roads that need repair.

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