Stephens Backs Transportation Funding Plan to Repair Local Roads
HARRISBURG – Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) joined his House colleagues in passing a transportation plan that will provide stable long-term funding for the Commonwealth’s transportation system. 
House Bill 1060 would generate an additional $2.3 billion per year by 2017-18 for the state’s transportation system, with approximately $1.65 billion dedicated to highways and bridges, up to $497 million for to mass transit, and $144 million for the newly created Multimodal Transportation Fund for pedestrian walkways and bicyclist paths and facilities.

The bill also reduces the burden on turnpike drivers by sunsetting over eight years the annual $450 million the Pennsylvania Turnpike owes PennDOT for road and bridge work. In addition, the plan also requires PennDOT to implement over $1 billion worth of efficiencies and cost savings initiatives over the next decade.

“Whether it’s a structurally deficient bridge, traffic congestion, rising tolls or noise abatement near busy roadways, the number one issue I hear about from my constituents is transportation,” Stephens said. “Reports indicate drivers in my district already pay an estimated $1,798 in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and traffic crashes. These issues cost all Pennsylvania drivers an additional $9.4 billion annually.”

Locally, PennDOT has committed to addressing traffic issues on Horsham Road between Keith Valley Road and Stump Road, on Route 611 between the PA Turnpike and County Line Road and at the Maple Glen triangle, in addition to other smaller projects.

Without the funding, SEPTA would have made severe service cuts due to its growing backlog of vehicle and infrastructure repair.

Under the proposal, the 12 cents per gallon state liquid fuels tax assessed at the retail level would be eliminated, with adjustments to the millage rate of the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT) implemented to offset the elimination. In addition, the cap on the OCFT would be incrementally eliminated over a period of 4 years. It’s estimated that may result in a 9-cent per gallon increase for each of the next 2 years. The OCFT is the tax on the average wholesale price of gasoline and has remained unchanged since 1983.

There would be no immediate increases on vehicle registration fees for passenger cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, antique or collectable cars, or trucks weighing less than 11,000 pounds. Registration fees would go up an average of a couple of dollars starting in 2015. Furthermore, driver license fees would not be affected immediately; however, they would increase from $21 to $22 in 2015-16 and from $22 to $23 in 2017-18.

Motorists who fail to obey Pennsylvania driving laws may face an increase in fine amounts, as seven existing surcharges on certain serious moving violations would be increased by 50 percent.

“Business and community leaders from all segments of the economy and from across the Commonwealth called for action. We’ve answered that call with a funding plan that will address the safety concerns associated with our roads and bridges and halt their further deterioration.”

About 14 percent of state bridges have been deemed structurally deficient and 28 percent are functionally obsolete.

House Bill 1060 is expected to be signed into law by the governor in the coming days.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
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