Governor's budget plan sets road map for transportation funding

Written by Tim Lambert and The Associated Press | Feb 5, 2013 7:42 PM

(Harrisburg) -- One of the major issues Governor Corbett is tackling in his budget proposal is transportation.

The state faces a $3.5 billion dollar deficit to fix roads and bridges and help financially-struggling mass transit systems.

So, the governor is calling for raising gasoline tax revenues. He says his plan would bring in more than $5 billion over five years.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says the first step was to modernize the agency, then address long term funding. "The governor and I firmly believe that we first wanted to make sure every dollar we get is being wisely used," he says. "Modernizing our business practices, modernizing our approach to delivering transportation (and) being a better business partner (were) very important to the governor and to me."

Most of the new money Corbett proposes would come from an increase in revenues from the oil company franchise tax -- a wholesale levy at the gas station level.

The governor wants to phase in the increase in three parts. The Pennsylvania Highway Information Association, a trade group, has said that the move would translate to about 28.5 cents per gallon at current prices.

Corbett describes the additional taxes as coming from lifting a cap on the tax, which is linked to the wholesale price of gas and is presently assessed only up to $1.25 per gallon. Corbett proposes eventually applying it to the full value.

Now, how the move would affect gas prices depends on how much of the increase gets passed along to consumers and the price of gas at the time the various increases are phased in.


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