Policy Position Statement on the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission Recommendations

BACKGROUND:

Transportation facilities in Pennsylvania and Lancaster County have served as a critical component of economic strength for many generations. Today, however, our infrastructure is aging significantly due to decades of underinvestment. The longer projects and essential maintenance are deferred, the more conditions deteriorate and the more costly it will be to bring the state's transportation system into good repair.

To address these concerns, Governor Tom Corbett established the Governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission (TFAC) on April 21, 2011. The 40-member commission was tasked with finding solutions to increase investments into the state's transportation infrastructure. On August 1st, 2011, the TFAC issued their recommendations.

TFAC's recommendations provide for a comprehensive solution for funding roads, local government transportation projects, transit, ports, airports and freight rail. The recommendations call for modernization and efficiency to help save money and provide better service to Pennsylvania residents. The report provides detailed funding increases, along with critical cost-savings measures.

To reach the funding level recommendations - $2.7 billion annually by year five of the plan, the plan adjusts outdated fees for inflation and/or redirects money within existing funds to where it can be most effective. The recommendations gradually address the transportation funding gap over a five year period. Some of the suggested funding sources include:

  • Removing the artificial cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax ($1.361 billion);
  • Increasing outdated license and registration fees to inflation ($574 million);
  • Restructuring and shifting Act 44 monies to public transit ($200 million);
  • Dedicating part of existing sales tax revenue to transit ($172 million);
  • Gradually shifting State Police funding back to the General fund ($0-$300 million); and
  • Modernization components – from LED lights, to right of way advertising, to consolidation of small transit systems ($18-25 million).

While we recognize that this funding package results in some additional expense to businesses and consumers, it is important to note that the investment the TFAC recommendations call for represent the first truly multi-modal package that addresses transportation and infrastructure in a way that provides for a sound investment for the future of the state's economy.

POLICY POSITION:

The Board of Directors of The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry supports the concepts within the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission's report and strongly encourages quick implementation.

In that much of the plan already aligns with our 25 Year Vision for Lancaster County's Mobility, inclusive of our strong support for Public-Private Partnerships, we believe the strategies that preserve, modernize and improve our transportation network must be championed. The Chamber will closely follow the TFAC recommendations and actively lobby for their advancement.