Lancaster County House Republican Delegation Votes to Address PA’s Critical Transportation Needs
HARRISBURG – A measure to provide funding to rehabilitate Pennsylvania’s aging transportation infrastructure passed the House of Representatives today with the overwhelming support of the Lancaster County House Republican delegation. The measure, House Bill 1060, would generate an additional $2.3 billion per year by 2017-18 for the state’s transportation system, with approximately $1.65 billion dedicated to highways and bridges.
Delegation members, state Reps. Ryan Aument (R-West Hempfield), Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Gordon Denlinger (R-Narvon), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), and Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz) issued the following statement in reaction to passage of the funding plan:
“Like public safety and education, transportation is a core function of state government. People need to be able to get to work, get their children to school, and businesses need to bring in raw materials and transport finished goods to market. For commerce and everyday life to flow, we must ensure that our infrastructure is maintained.
“Right now we face a crisis with our bridges and we must address the large number of bridges that are weight restricted across the state, and many of which are in Lancaster County. With these bridge restrictions, we now face the reality of emergency vehicles not being able to take the fastest route to a fire, and goods needing to be transported an additional 100 miles or more to get to market, adding costs to the business and the consumer. Doing nothing was not an option--bridges would be further restricted, completely closed or possibly be the cause of a disaster.
“While Motor License Fund revenues that determine how much we have to spend on highways and bridges have increased by 10 percent, the cost increases for the largest expenditures involved in maintaining our infrastructure have outpaced them. Energy costs have skyrocketed, and construction materials, such as steel and asphalt, require large amounts of energy to produce. In fact, over the past decade, the cost of steel has increased by more than 180 percent and the price of asphalt by 250 percent.
“At the same time, we are seeing less revenue come into the Motor License Fund. One big reason for this is that today’s vehicles are more fuel efficient, resulting in fewer trips to the gas pump. When nearly three-quarters of all incoming revenue to the fund is collected from the liquid fuel tax, it is easy to see why greater fuel efficiency, coupled with inflation, has decreased the amount of revenues.
“With this plan, we are modernizing the way we collect revenue. On Jan. 1, the current 12-cent-per gallon tax paid by consumers at the pump will be eliminated. And, instead of a direct tax on the citizens of Pennsylvania, we gradually lift the archaic cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax. Moreover, the plan requires PennDOT to commit to cost savings that will save $1 billion over the next decade.
“Local governments would benefit from this legislation two-fold. The measure saves taxpayer money with a historic increase to the prevailing wage threshold for public construction projects, from $25,000 to $100,000, and through increased funding dedicated for local roads and bridges.
“This was a tough vote to make, but we were sent here to grow our economy so that our children have jobs, and to maintain the safety of our families, students and workers. This new transportation investment will help the state and local communities begin to upgrade road and bridge projects, while reducing congestion and protecting the welfare of the citizens of our Commonwealth.”
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner