Update on Transportation Proposals and Funding in PA
While things keep moving along on federal transportation legislation (though, admittedly, more theoretically than actually), several transportation funding bills are currently under construction in the Pennsylvania House. The bills all aim at creating funding sources for transportation projects and mass transit and are expected to be unveiled soon by the House Transportation Committee chairmen, Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) and Rick Geist (R-Blair).
So what should we expect? One of the bills expected to be introduced increases the cap on the oil franchise tax. Other proposals call for fee increases for driver licenses, vehicle registrations and inspection stickers. And another proposal would allow for public-private partnerships (P3s) in state transportation projects. I received an early draft of this proposal last week and gave it a quick read-through. The legislation would allow for the establishment of a Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board which would review and approve proposed P3 projects. Though I wasn’t able to read this proposal thoroughly, I did notice that there was a section dedicated solely to environmental impacts. It’s favorable to see such language in the bill, though, of course, it remains to be seen what the real impact will be should this legislation pass. (Also, some of my colleagues have told me that they aren’t overly impressed with the bill and I agree with them — but give it a read to form your own opinion: PA P3 Proposal 2010)
On that note, it’s well known now that several members of the General Assembly do not have high hopes for a transportation bill passing this year. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) stated that a comprehensive transportation funding package would be approved next year at the earliest. But will it be too late by then? Thoughts?