State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Trucking group calls transportation plan a start

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 6, 2013 4:00 PM
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The governor’s plan to generate revenue for transportation projects is being met with measured praise by some industry groups.

Jim Runk, president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, noted Gov. Corbett’s proposals aren’t exactly what his Transportation Funding Advisory Commission suggested in 2011.

“I think this is a first good step,” said Runk. “It’s not the kind of money that we came up with in the commission, but it’s a first good step to get started.”

Corbett has asked the Legislature to lift the cap on the tax paid by gas stations on the wholesale price of gas, while lowering another tax on gas paid directly by consumers.

“We talked about raising the cap on the wholesale cost,” said Runk about the tax cap proposal. “Discussions never occurred to reduce the [price at the pump] tax. So I think most of us just heard about that and I would think right off the bat that probably it would be better just to raise the cost and leave the tax the way it is.”

Lawmakers have suggested they’d like to fix the transportation funding problem once – not pass a bill that will require revisiting in a few years.

“You know, I’ve been here – it’s my 15th year, we haven’t done a transportation bill in my career,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman. “So they’re obviously not easy to get done, so let’s have a bill that solves the problem, so we don’t have to come back in three, four, five years and do it again.”

Runk said he’s holding out hope the state Senate Transportation Committee members make other recommendations that go beyond what the governor is calling for to generate more revenue. He added that he can imagine why the administration may be agonizing over how to raise money.

“Do we put those high fees in… at a time like this? You know, those things are kind of out of my control,” said Runk. “But it’d sure be nice to have the money available so we can get these roads and bridges fixed pretty quickly.”

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