APC, Keystone Coalition testify in House committee hearings

August 20, 2020

This week, representatives of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition testified before the House Transportation Committee to weigh in on a package of bills developed by a House task force that was formed last year to investigate how to better fund transportation infrastructure.

The hearings were originally scheduled for April, but were postponed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic significantly worsened the Commonwealth’s infrastructure funding capabilities, and most of the witnesses who were lined up in April had to retool their testimony.

APC’s Bob Latham recounted the events that have occurred since the passage of Act 89 of 2013. In addition to not fully addressing the funding gap, the diversions from the Motor License Fund to support General Fund functions increased.

The pandemic caused a major drop in fuel tax revenue, which PennDOT estimates will cause a shortfall in expected revenue totaling $800 million through next year.

Latham outlined several ways the General Assembly could address transportation needs, beginning with eliminating Motor License Fund diversions entirely. Other measures include indexing the floor of the Oil Company Franchise Tax, enacting alternative vehicle fuel fees, using federal stimulus funds to restart projects halted due to the coronavirus and tolling Interstate projects.

The KTFC representatives were Ross Willard, of Recycle Bicycle; Mark Speda, of Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail; and Bruce Clash, of Mission Readiness. Willard and Speda spoke of the importance of all modes of transportation in providing mobility for all Pennsylvanians, and Clash detailed the importance of fitness-related transportation in combatting obesity among potential candidates for military service.

“The funding needs are significant and will not be easy to address,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “However, having a seat at the table and advocating for comprehensive, multimodal solutions is a good start. That was the approach that worked in advancing Act 89, and that’s the approach we need as we face the next chapter in transportation funding.”


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