The General Assembly is in the final days of legislative session before it’s annual summer recess and is positioning the passage of the state 2019-20 budget before Saturday. The nearly $34 billion spending plan contains no new or increased taxes and represents a 1.8% spending increase over last year’s budget. The highlights of this year’s budget is primarily focused on increases in education funding, additional monies for career and technical education, much higher levels of agriculture funding, and a nearly $300 million deposit into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
There is little impact on transportation in the budget but some items of note are as follows:
- The budget continues to contain the graduated phase down of money from the Motor License Fund for State Police operations at the levels passed by the General Assembly 3 years ago. In 2018-19 the level was $769 million and this year’s budget drops that level to $737 million in accordance with the Fiscal Code changes in law;
- The budget does indicate that approximately $235 million less will be available for infrastructure projects, which was already anticipated by PennDOT and why they projected the lettings to drop to approximately $2.2 billion in 2019. The reduction in funding is due to updated revenue estimates—mainly due to: increased flood maintenance costs, lagging fuel consumption, and lower projected opt-in rates for biennial vehicle registrations. This impact will be spread across the 2019 and 2020 calendar years.
APC has joined with the highway construction industry in advocating for an accelerated phase down of money coming from the Motor License Fund to the State Police. While that specific proposal is likely to be considered in the fall, industry members can continue to help call for the end of diverting highway funds by visiting our APC Advocacy Page.