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Take action today on transportation funding bill.
June 2013

Hello. And welcome to At the Center.

Imagine, if you will, Lancaster County without the Route 30 bypass.

Think of the time lost in traffic jams; think of the impact on our business climate; think of the safety concerns and think of how much less attractive Lancaster County would be as a place to live, work and play.

Whether you know it or not, the thanks for that roadway is due to a combination of hard work from our previous state legislators and their support for the 1997 transportation funding package. Yeah, that bill raised the price of gas in Pennsylvania, but in the long run…it saved our local quality of life and maintained our economic success. Not a bad investment by any stretch.

Today, a full sixteen years later, the Pennsylvania legislature is actively considering another comprehensive transportation funding package.

In the coming days –literally, days--, it is highly likely that our local state House legislators will be asked to vote on a comprehensive transportation funding bill.

The bill, Senate Bill 1, is designed to partially address our state’s estimated $3.5 billion per year annual shortfall in transportation spending. It has already passed the state Senate –with thanks to Senators Brubaker, Smucker and Folmer—and it now awaits House action.

To be clear, the bill will result in higher gas prices, some increased fees and a bigger hit to the wallet for anyone caught speeding. And, I am well aware that no one enjoys paying more to government. But the simple reality is we must if we are to maintain a reliable transportation system. Our infrastructure demands it; our future is depends on it.

Unless, God forbid, our state is faced with a disaster like a bridge collapse, it is difficult to muster up a sense of urgency around transportation. Yet, we must.

By most accounts, if the legislature does not deal with transportation funding in this budget cycle it could be many years before it will be considered again. Years that will create more delay for you and more decay for our county’s infrastructure. Years of neglect that we simply cannot afford.

The Chamber strongly supports Senate Bill 1. We hope you do to. Tell your employees, tell your neighbors and, please, tell your local legislator. Visit our website to learn more and to access a direct link to your legislator. I will also explain the bill further immediately following this message.

Thanks, in advance, for your support.

Until next time, stay connected, stay engaged and stay with us….At the Center.

Senate Bill 1

Senate Bill 1, which overwhelmingly passed the state Senate by a 45-5 bi-partisan vote, is now before the House awaiting further action.

The bill is designed to generate $2.5 billion in additional annual revenue, once it is fully implemented over a three-year period.

The source of those revenues come from three primary areas:

  1. Phasing out the artificial wholesale price cap on fuel, which was put into place in 1983. It is estimated that the results of phasing out the cap could add up to 9 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline per year over the next three years;

  2. Raising license, registration and permitting fees to reflect inflation and indexing them to inflation into the future. Most of those fees have not been raised since 1997; and,

  3. Adding a surcharge of $100 for drivers who incur moving traffic violations.

It is important to note that all of these increases are, in effect, a user tax. The less you use the roadways, the less the bill will cost you. For the average Pennsylvanian, PennDOT estimates the cost, once fully implemented, would be around $2.50 per week.

Meanwhile, PennDOT continues to demonstrate its commitment to streamlining and modernizing its processes, ensuring that operational dollars are kept to a minimum and leaving maximum dollars available to do the project work we all know must be done.

The Chamber is well aware that no one wants to pay more money in taxes and fees. Yet, no one would want to deal with the cost of doing nothing either. By all accounts, transportation is an essential government duty. And the costs of fulfilling that duty are real.

Again, check out The Chamber website for more detailed information on the proposal.

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