In March of this year, Governor Wolf announced a special commission to study what changes should be made to how Pennsylvania funds transportation. As Lowman Henry noted at the time, increased fuel efficiency and more electric vehicles mean that gas tax revenue, the primary source of transportation funding, would continue to decrease over time. The forty-two member commission released its recommendations in July, and it’s hard to describe just how awful it would be for Pennsylvanians.
The commission would replace Pennsylvania’s exorbitant tax on gasoline with a patchwork of other funding sources:
- An 8.1 cent/mile driving fee
- Doubling the annual vehicle registration fee
- A $1 fee on all packages delivered by Amazon, UPS, local grocery stores, etc.
- A $1.11 fee on all Uber and Lyft rides
- Increasing the tax on vehicle rentals to $5
- Charging electric vehicles an additional fee until the miles-driven fee is put into place.
As far as picking winners and losers, it appears that the postal service and traditional taxi companies will be exempt from the new taxes and fees.
Although the Governor initially claimed that this commission would include the legislature, the members of the General Assembly were not actually on the commission. Instead, he invited them to observe. It is also our understanding that the special transportation funding commission never actually voted to adopt the recommendations. They compiled the wishlist of funding sources and released it as a finished product.
According to media reports, Republican leadership in the House and Senate have declared the proposal “dead on arrival.”
If you’d like to learn more about the proposal and what it doesn’t address, CAP Political Director, Leo Knepper, talked with Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-46) about the issue. You can find the video below.