News

‘Free’ police coverage has a high price tag

May 5, 2016 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

In the last few weeks, editorials and op-ed articles have appeared in newspapers around the state in reaction to the Associated Press story about “free” state police coverage.

pspThe AP noted that nearly half of Pennsylvania’s municipalities rely on the State Police for all of their police protection, and others for at least some coverage. Municipalities are able take advantage of this coverage at no additional cost.

This has increased the cost of operation for the State Police, without any additional revenue to pay for it. Residents of communities that have local police forces or participate in regional police coverage pay twice – for their local coverage, and for State Police coverage in municipalities that rely on State Police.

Gerald Cross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League Central Division, commented about this problem with an op-ed article published in several newspapers. You can read the entire article here.

“Mandating that all 2,561 municipalities have their own police departments is unrealistic. One alternative is to require payment for state police services,” Cross wrote. “A more comprehensive and long-term, albeit more complicated, option is to create a mechanism for local government tax-base sharing to deliver all types of critical services more effectively on a regional level. One thing is clear: A wide-ranging discussion of how local governments in Pennsylvania provide services is long overdue.” Read more

News

Local Governments to Receive $445 Million for Road Maintenance

March 8, 2016 by · Comments Off on Local Governments to Receive $445 Million for Road Maintenance
Filed under: News 

LOCALFUNDINGUnder Act 89, the comprehensive multi-modal transportation funding bill, Pennsylvania municipalities receive a sum of money annually to maintain local roads and bridges.

This year, PennDOT will release more than $445 million to local governments for this purpose. Local road maintenance is one of the major accomplishments of Act 89. Before the bill passed in 2013, municipalities received just $320 million for the same purpose.

The 2016 disbursement is an increase from last year as well, up from $381 million. Funds come from liquid fuels payments to the state, and can be used to repair public streets where vehicles travel faster than 15 mph.

Of the 120,039 miles of public roads in Pennsylvania, 72,759 are eligible for liquid fuels money.

“The increase in liquid fuels payments to municipalities is just one of the many accomplishments of Act 89,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We have seen considerable improvements to local roads, state roads and bridges, and we will continue to see improvements that would not have been possible without the bipartisan effort behind Act 89.”

 

News

PHIA president Van Buren supports State Police funding study

February 9, 2016 by · Comments Off on PHIA president Van Buren supports State Police funding study
Filed under: News 

HARRISBURG (Feb. 8, 2016) – The president of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association today urged a legislative committee to request a study to determine the appropriate level of support for State Police operations with revenue from the state’s Motor License Fund.

VanBurenHearingPSPJames Van Buren, who also is president of PennStress, a precast concrete supplier, told the House Transportation Committee that an increasing amount of revenue intended for transportation system improvements has been diverted from the Motor License Fund to support the State Police and now totals $755 million, nearly two-thirds of the entire State Police budget.

Van Buren noted that under the Pennsylvania Constitution, revenue from the Motor License Fund may be used only for highway purposes. While that includes patrolling the highways, he said the amounts being diverted are far greater than the level of resources the agency devotes to highway patrols.

Click HERE to read more of the press release on the hearing.

 

News

Impact of uncapping the OCFT explained

February 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on Impact of uncapping the OCFT explained
Filed under: News 

Gasoline Pricing ComponentsIn the wake of Gov. Tom Corbett unveiling his transportation funding plan, there has been considerable discussion over the impact on gasoline prices of uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax.

The OCFT is a state tax levied at the wholesale level. To be sure, a wholesale tax will affect the retail price, but state taxes account for only about 11 percent of the price that motorists pay at the pump. A recent op-ed article by John Kulik, of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association, sheds some light on the various components of retail fuel prices.

Nearly two-thirds of the retail fuel price is driven by the cost of crude oil, Kulik explains, and that cost is determined by world commodity markets. He also notes that federal environmental regulations requiring three grades of gasoline in the summer months in Pennsylvania add significantly to the cost. Some market experts suggest that settling on fewer summertime grades – there are currently about 20 nationwide – could reduce the cost per gallon considerably. Read more

News

PennDOT forecasts diminished 2012 highway construction program

November 21, 2011 by · Comments Off on PennDOT forecasts diminished 2012 highway construction program
Filed under: News 

PennDOT Deputy Secretary Scott Christie last week outlined the department’s projected 2012 construction program during an annual gathering of the highway construction industry. And, the news wasn’t good.

While lettings this year will exceed the original projections of approximately $1.9 billion, Christie put the 2012 forecast at a maximum $1.5 billion in lettings, a decrease of more than 20 percent.

Given its diminishing resources, PennDOT will focus on “preservation of the network” in 2012 and plans to bid only six projects exceeding $20 million, with a potential of adding eight more if circumstances warrant.

Christie was quick to add that the $1.5 billion figure would increase to about $2 billion if the state enacts a comprehensive funding package soon, due to the department’s ability to bond against future anticipated revenues.

Also addressing the gathering of approximately 1,500 people at the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Fall Conference was PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, who outlined elements of a funding proposal that would generate additional short and long-term funding. Schoch indicated that a key component of the plan would be to systematically increase the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax in out years when the economy improves, but that short-term bonding could be used to generate immediate funds.

While the specifics of such funding proposal are still being vetted with the state legislature, Schoch indicated that the passage of a funding proposal is still within reach. He said Gov. Tom Corbett is working on the specifics of making a funding-package announcement, which could come as early as this week.

News

Vehicle and fuel tax collections take a dip in October

November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off on Vehicle and fuel tax collections take a dip in October
Filed under: News 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reported slightly lower than expected Motor License Fund (MLF)* collections in October.  The MLF received a total of $222.8 million for the month, which is $2.4 million below expectations.  The State Department of Revenue reported that total fiscal year-to-date collections are approximately $838.6 million and that is approximately 4.1% above estimate.  Overall, the MLF is still yielding far less than needed for an adequate highway program.  Read more

News

Higher than expected revenues don’t negate the need for additional transportation investment

October 4, 2010 by · Comments Off on Higher than expected revenues don’t negate the need for additional transportation investment
Filed under: News 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reported slightly better than expected Motor License Fund (MLF)* collections in September.  While this is a welcome and encouraging sign, the MLF is still yielding far less than needed for an adequate highway program. Read more

News

Motor License Fund revenues up in August

September 1, 2010 by · Comments Off on Motor License Fund revenues up in August
Filed under: News 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reported slightly better than expected Motor License Fund (MLF)* collections in August.  While this is a welcome and encouraging sign, the MLF is still yielding far less than needed for an adequate highway program. Read more

News

Motor License Fund revenues slightly higher as state fiscal year ends

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ended the 2009-10 fiscal year on June 30 with a massive $1.1 billion deficit.  Motor License Fund (MLF)* revenues, however, ended the fiscal year up $5.4 million. or 0.2 percent above estimates.  While this number is encouraging, the MLF is still yielding far less than needed for an adequate highway program. Read more

News

June is a big month for PennDOT

July 1, 2010 by · Comments Off on June is a big month for PennDOT
Filed under: News 

The state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) ended the state fiscal year with a bang by putting out approximately $426 million in projects in June.  Read more