Editor’s note: Really! Because gas prices aren’t high enough already???
HARRISBURG – Spending on Pennsylvania’s highways, bridges and mass transit systems would get a big shot of new funding under a Senate plan unveiled Tuesday that would raise the money by increasing motorist fees and wholesale gas taxes – bumping prices at the pump as much a quarter a gallon.
The $2.5 billion plan by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, is more ambitious and expensive than the proposal Gov. Tom Corbett advanced in January. The increase is nearly 50 percent of the $5.3 billion that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation currently spends on highways, bridges and transit.
Rafferty warned that the state’s bridges and highways are in dire need of repair, and contended that the plan would simply update taxes and fees to reflect inflation after going unchanged since at least the 1990s while giving the state’s economy a big boost.
“This is a sustainable funding plan,” Rafferty told reporters at a news conference where he was backed by dozens of supportive lawmakers and representatives of transportation-minded groups. “This is not a one-shot deal. This is a significant piece of change that will move Pennsylvania forward.”