Friday, November 17, 2006

Pennsylvania's RTC Recommends Raising Revenues

Submitted by Paul Ellis

On RAMP has written previously about Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's Transportation Funding and Reform Commission and its work paralleling (in some respects) that of Washington State's Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania group released its final recommendations for how to fill Pennsylvania's $1.7 billion transportation funding gap.

Pennsylvania's commission was given the mandate to identify new revenues to fill the gaps. Highways and bridges require $900 million in additional funding per year, while public transit requires an additional $760 million per year, the commission concluded. The final report recommends revenues from the following sources:
  • Increase the cost of vehicle registration and license fees to raise about $150 million a year for highways and bridges;
  • Increase realty transfer taxes that would add about $5 a month to a homeowner's 30-year, $150,000 mortgage and help out public transportation;
  • Seek public-private partnerships to reduce the need to raise taxes (e.g., leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike and setting tolls for existing roadways);
  • Raising the gas tax by 11.5 cents for projects under state jurisdiction and by one more cent for local highways and bridges.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community's largest transportation planning effort.

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