Panel presents Corbett with funding options for Pa. transportation

    The advisory panel appointed to figure out how to fill Pennsylvania’s huge gaps in transportation funding will send its final report of recommendations to Gov. Tom Corbett Monday.

    The recommendations range from cost-cutting measures, such as closing certain license and registration centers, to revenue increases, such as getting rid of the cap on taxes paid by gasoline companies.

    The commission chairman says the recommendations are meant to keep Pennsylvania from depending on federal funding to fix its ailing infrastructure.

    Joshua Schank, of the Washington-based Eno Transportation Foundation, says that’s a good idea–because the federal highway trust fund is no better stocked than the Commonwealth’s.

    “The primary reason is that it’s traditionally been funded through the federal gas tax, which is 18.4 cents a gallon, and has not been increased since 1993,” Schank said. “So it’s lost its purchasing power pretty substantially due to inflation and it’s not been indexed to inflation.”

    The panel is also calling on the General Assembly to pass new laws allowing tolling on all the interstates in Pennsylvania; however, the panel’s chairman has said that item shouldn’t be read as a recommendation of tolling.

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