Hess: Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan Clears Committee Hurdle

HARRISBURG – The House Transportation Committee, chaired by Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon), today voted to amend and send Senate Bill 1 to the full House for debate. The legislation builds transportation funding over a five-year period, culminating in more than $2 billion in the final year.

“There has been a considerable effort put forward to get all stakeholders together to move a full and fair transportation funding package to the House floor, and I am pleased the committee saw fit to vote for this plan,” said Hess. “My goal was to strike the ‘sweet spot’ between Governor Tom Corbett’s plan and the Senate version, and gain bipartisan support. We did that today. This is a giant step in the right direction.”

Hess said the bill uncaps the Oil Company Franchise Tax gradually over a five-year period leading to 2017. In addition, it eliminates the previously proposed increases to driver’s license and registration fees and the $100 surcharge on traffic violations.

Assistance for public transportation is built into the bill with a 3 percent Vehicle Lease Fee increase and a $1 increase in the tire tax, both of which haven’t been adjusted since 1991. Proposals to streamline operations of public transportation are also included. A transfer of funds from several fees from the Motor License Fund will also be directed to public transportation.

“Our bill provides a gentler impact on the public while giving the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, local governments and public transportation agencies the tools to make significant progress in funding infrastructure improvements, bringing jobs and maintaining them in Pennsylvania,” Hess added.

In addition, Hess said another $8 million was made available for dirt and gravel roads (referred to as low-volume roads) from a grant program administered by the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission.

Hess said there is a lot of work left to be done before the final goal of improving Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is achieved.

“I know there are remaining differences of opinion surrounding this issue and I am open to amendments on the House floor,” said Hess. “With that, I will continue to work with members on both sides of the aisle and the Corbett administration to accomplish our shared goal. I am grateful for the cooperative spirit in which many have worked so far and I trust that will continue.”

Representative Dick Hess
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Raymond Smith
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