New Legislative Plan to Deal with Transportation Funding Crisis
State legislators, the governor, and anyone else interested in the tolling of I-80, regardless of whether or not they supported the plan, could agree on one thing: If the application was rejected, Pennsylvania would face a serious transportation funding crisis. The application was rejected, and State Representative Rick Geist, Republican Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, stepped up with a new plan to address the issue.
Geist’s plan includes the reallocation of certain tax revenue, public-private partnerships, reapplying for federal authorization to toll I-95, adjusting the PTC/PennDOT lease terms, and a number of other methods that would potentially fill the funding gap.
Another proposed method is to increase the local match required to receive state transit dollars. This means that localities would be asked to pay more towards mass transit before being eligible for state funds. Currently, Pennsylvania requires a 13% match, and Geist’s plan proposes that the number to be increased to 25%. He contends that Pennsylvania is well below the national average in terms of its requirement for a local match and that an increase to 25% would not be unreasonable.
Check out the press release that provides an overview of the proposed plan. How might this option succeed in filling the transportation funding gap? What are some of the implications of this plan?
Should it concern us that part of this plan–applying for authorization to toll I-95 and extending the PTC/PennDOT lease terms– continues the practice of borrowing money against future toll revenue that may or may not ever exist?
Are there other alternatives that need to be a part of this discussion? Please share your feedback as this is just the first of what could be many plans to address this crisis.