APC testifies before House Transportation Committee. APC’s Executive Vice President Bob Latham testified before the House Transportation Committee this week outlining the industry’s funding proposal for the future. The committee’s hearing was focused on a package of bills developed by a House Infrastructure Task Force that was formed last year to investigate how to better fund transportation infrastructure.
Latham recounted the events that have occurred since the passage of Act 89 of 2013. In addition to not fully addressing the funding gap, diversions from the Motor License Fund to support General Fund – PA State Police – increased.
The pandemic has caused a major drop in fuel tax revenue, which PennDOT estimates will cause a shortfall in expected revenue totaling $800 million through next year.
Latham outlined several ways the General Assembly could address transportation needs, beginning with eliminating Motor License Fund diversions entirely. Other measures include indexing the floor of the Oil Company Franchise Tax, enacting alternative vehicle fuel fees, using federal stimulus funds to restart projects halted due to the coronavirus and tolling Interstate projects.
New transportation blueprint adopted. Last week the State Transportation Commission (STC) adopted a $64.8 billion, 12-Year Plan for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports, and railroads.
The 12-Year Plan is a multimodal, fiscally-constrained planning tool used to identify and prioritize Pennsylvania’s transportation projects and the funds needed to complete them. State law requires the STC to review and update the 12-Year Program every two years. No capital project can move forward unless it is included in the 12-Year Program.
The new program will take effect on October 1, 2020. Funding from federal, state, and local sources is expected to amount to:
- $11.4 billion for state highway and bridge projects
- $9.4 billion for public transit
- $321 million for multimodal projects
- $228 million for rail freight
- $138 million for aviation
Continuing the fight against opioid abuse. Governor Wolf, for the 11th time, has renewed a disaster emergency declaration regarding opioids. The order was first put in place in January of 2018.
The administration says the declaration allows the state to continue to help deal with the ongoing problems of opioid and heroin addiction in Pennsylvania. The declaration, explains the administration, “allows the state to loosen regulations and work outside of typical procedures to expedite aid and initiatives to help those suffering from opioid use disorder and those who work to prevent and treat this medical condition.”
Sadly, this is a growing problem facing many Pennsylvanians. We hope this order helps stem the opioid addiction problem in the Commonwealth.
No milkshake for you! A state—and in some cases national—fixture is the annual PA State Farm Show. Well…after a 104-year run the ever-popular Farm Show will go virtual in 2021.
In an announcement made yesterday by state Agriculture Secretary Russell Reading, the 8-day event scheduled for January 2021 will now be conducted virtually due to concerns about the coronavirus. The decision makes it highly unlikely that the food cart and yes, the popular Farm Show milkshakes will be available next January.