Bridge Tolls and Forfeit Fees Considered to Replace Lost Gas Tax Revenue in Pennsylvania | State
(The Center Square) – A proposed bridge toll that would add user fees to nine bridges across Pennsylvania raised some eyebrows during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, but the state Department of Transportation argued that it was a crucial way to finance the modernization of bridges and roads.
“We are moving forward with nine candidate bridges,” Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian told the committee.
The bridges are called candidate bridges because PennDOT is still awaiting environmental approval and expects all bridges to be approved by mid-August 2022. Once approved, the bridges will then have 30-year toll contracts on them, and income will be rehabilitated or replaced. the bridges rang.
The chosen bridges are across the Commonwealth so as not to overload an area with tolls:
I-81 Susquehanna River.
I-80 White Haven.
I-80 Canoe Creek.
I-80 North Fork.
I-83 South Bridge.
I-95 Point Girard.
“This program will provide own-source revenue to address key bridge deficiencies that would otherwise not be feasible with existing funding,” Gramian said in his written testimony. Excess toll revenue will be retained in the region where it is created, District 6 Manager Kenneth McClain said.
The bridge toll scheme highlighted another issue that the committee hearing focused on: declining petrol tax revenue and the need for the Commonwealth to find other sources. stable revenues for its infrastructure.
“At the end of the day, it’s about making sure the revenue capacity of transportation is vibrant and growing,” said Sen. Patrick M. Browne, R-Lehigh, chairman of the appropriations committee. “The penetration of the electric car is real.”
As gas demand plummets, PennDOT’s funding is in jeopardy.
“More effectively, we need to focus on how to offset declining revenues to fund infrastructure,” said Sen. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna.
The federal and state gasoline tax accounts for 78% of PenDOT’s total funding, Flynn said.
Bridge tolls are a method of replacing lost revenue. Two other methods mentioned by Gramian are new taxes: a mileage fee pilot program for electric vehicles and a package or freight delivery fee.
Fees for electric vehicles were considered in the Senate, Gramian said, but the bills they were part of did not become law. Gramian estimates that Pennsylvania could “easily generate $800 million on an annual basis” with a $1 tax on every package delivered.
“We want to identify sustainable types of income that could go beyond five years,” Gramian said.
Browne said the General Assembly must “deal with the fact that general fund revenue growth is not growing fast enough.”