Rendell outlines options for special session on transportation funding

May 4, 2010

Before a joint session of the General Assembly, Governor Rendell today outlined four options for the special legislative session on transportation funding.

Rendell said legislators could choose 1) temporary replacement of the $472 million in annual revenue lost upon rejection of the tolling plan for Interstate 80, 2) long-term replacement of that revenue, 3) a comprehensive solution to the problem that would address highway and public transit funding needs for many years or 4) to pass no funding measure at all. 

Rendell said that while he would agree to the first two options with some reluctance, his preference is to achieve a comprehensive solution to the problem.  The fourth option, he said, is not acceptable.

Rendell cited a report released on Monday by the Transportation Advisory Committee which identified the current funding gap for public transit and highways at $3.5 billion annually.  The report has been accepted by the State Transportation Commission.  (Executive SummaryFull Report)

The TAC report also tracks with the vision developed by the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, a diverse confederation of groups whose constituents have an interested in all forms of transportation funding.  The Keystone group includes additional modes of transportation, however, while the TAC study addresses only highways and public transit.

Robert Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and PHIA Treasurer, issued the following statement in response to the governor’s address:

“The transportation construction industry commends Governor Rendell in advocating for a comprehensive solution to the funding problem.  After 30 years of piecemeal solutions, Pennsylvania an opportunity to address an exceptionally important public policy matter and provide for the kind of 21st Century transportation system that will improve safety, relieve congestion and accommodate Pennsylvania’s economic growth well into the future.”

George Wolff, chairman of the Keystone group, issued the following statement:

“The diverse interests represented by the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition are pleased that the governor has heeded our call for a comprehensive solution to the transportation funding problem that affects us all.  We look forward to enlisting the support of our individual constituencies in helping the administration and the General Assembly push for this vitally important public policy initiative.”

Several members of PHIA and the Keystone group attended the governor’s news conference following the address.  Coalition members include the highway construction industry, public transit agencies, labor unions, farm organizations, AARP, bicycle and pedestrian trail advocates, land-use advocates, AAA, air and seaport organizations, organizations representing local governments, chambers of commerce, travel and tourism organizations, environmental advocates, freight and passenger rail organizations and truck freight haulers.

PHIA commends the Keystone group and its push to “get it right” for a long-term funding solution.

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