As the impact of the state’s proposed Transportation Funding plan is discussed, PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch urges that these facts be referenced:
· The financing phases in over a five-year period. It is misleading to ignore this fact when gauging the plan’s impact. The plan does not include an immediate increase of 28 cents per gallon, as has been reported. Such an estimate is based on the wholesale price of fuel in 2018. It is not possible to predict the price per gallon five years from now.
· The plan eliminates the 12 cent-a-gallon liquid fuels tax. Under this proposal, all gas tax revenues are generated at the wholesale level.
· Competitive situations and the cost of crude oil have the largest impact on the price per gallon. Even with this revenue enhancement in place, the average driver would only pay about $2.50 more a week in the fifth year of the plan, less than the cost of one gallon of gas. In return, the commonwealth will receive $2.3 to $2.4 billion in transportation improvements.
· Comparison of gas tax rates with other states is not a fair assessment since many states use other funding sources to pay for highways and bridges, so they keep their rates artificially low. In Pennsylvania, fuel taxes are used only for highway and bridge-related purposes and state police patrol functions. Income and sales taxes are not used to pay for state-maintained highways and bridges in Pennsylvania. The fuel taxes in Pennsylvania amount to a true users’ fee, based on the amount of gasoline consumed and use of the highway and bridge system.
· Pennsylvania’s vehicle registration fees are among the lowest in the nation, with 39 states charging more. Also, 31 states charge more for the cost of a driver’s license.