November 26, 2013 —
HARRISBURG, PA — Citing the significant deterioration of roads and bridges in the Pocono region, PA Rep. Sandra Major, Rep. Mike Peifer and Sen. Lisa Baker voted last week to invest more money in the state’s transportation infrastructure.
“Pennsylvania relies on fuel and use taxes to fund our highway maintenance and construction, which means those who use the roads and bridges are responsible for their costs,” the legislators said in a news release. “We have listened to the thousands of complaints, we’ve heard about the roads not being properly maintained, about the additional expenses businesses are incurring because of detours around closed and weight-restricted bridges, and about the repair costs associated with substandard road conditions.
“The package represents a considerable investment in the future, for economic progress and for public safety, and clears the way for action on more of our transportation priorities in this area over the coming years,” Baker said. “While I understand and appreciate that many people do not want to pay any more in taxes and fees, our transportation needs are too large and too serious to delay action any longer. The variety of funding sources utilized should work to reduce the eventual impact on the price of gas at the pump.”
The bulk of the revenue will be generated by a change in the way the state’s gasoline is taxed. Specifically, the bill eliminates the current 12-cent flat tax consumers pay at the pump and instead moves fully to the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT), which is paid by oil companies at the wholesale level. The change will be phased in over the next five years.
The increase in the OCFT, starting January 1, 2014, is estimated at less than 10 cents per gallon.