HARRISBURG – Legislation that will significantly improve Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges, mass transit and provide sustainable funding for multimodal transportation was approved today in the state Senate, 43-7, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
The collaborative, bipartisan measure, which follows the major recommendations made by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission, will increase Pennsylvania’s annual transportation investment by $2.415 billion over five years by raising needed revenue through a number of sources including adjusting outdated vehicle and driver fees for inflation, surcharging fines for drivers who violate traffic laws, uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax over three years, and achieving significant cost savings by modernizing many PennDOT services. The legislation would also eliminate the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.
“This is a public safety bill, which will create over 50,000 jobs,” Yaw said. “Does this bill come at a cost? Yes. But, the cost of doing nothing is far greater.”
Recently, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Barry Schoch referenced a study performed by TRIP, a Washington D.C. based non-profit transportation research group, which emphasized the dire costs of Pennsylvania’s deteriorating roadway system. The report showed that every year Pennsylvania drivers spend an extra $9.4 billion in vehicle operating costs and traffic crashes.
“To put this into perspective, motorists throughout my Senate district could pay over $1,000 a year in increased vehicle costs resulting from deteriorating and unsafe roads,” Yaw added.
In June, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 1, a similar measure that includes funding for major highway projects in Yaw’s district.
“Earlier this year, I stood with my colleagues from the Senate and House of Representatives to applaud the announcement made by the Corbett Administration to fund the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway (CSVT),” Yaw said. “With a final approval from the House, this investment will be one step closer to a reality.”
The latest transportation bill approved by the Senate would also provide funding for 71 local projects and transit agencies that serve Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties.
“I am also pleased that funding for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program, used extensively in Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, was significantly increased from $5 million to $35 million,” Yaw said. “In addition, language was added to increase dairy hauling limits. This will undoubtedly advance the needs of agriculture and improve the competitiveness of our dairy industry with other states.”
The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for concurrence.