Buses, and Trains, and Trucks, Oh My!
The Governor’s transportation panel met in Harrisburg on Monday to hear presentations on mass transit, rail, and truck modes and discuss funding options for what is pegged at $10.7 billion of "unmet needs" in the state’s infrastructure. With three separate modes to receive testimony upon, there is a lot of information for the panel to digest as it works toward issuing recommendations by August.
Here are some of the interesting factoids taken from the presentations:
Transit-When considering the funding for the state’s transit agencies, Federal and state subsidies provide 50% of SEPTA’s budget with local funding and fare revenue providing the remaining 50%. All other systems derive much more funding from Federal/state sources with PAT at 65%, other urban systems (in total) at 70%, and rural carriers at 80%. PAT accounted for 15% of the 432 million boardings in FY 09-10. The highest base fare for transit-levied by five systems-is $2.
Trucking-Roughly 1.2 million tons of freight are moved each day in PA. The industry in PA pays $1.39 billion in state and Federal taxes and fees annually. Truck-related fatalities per 100 miles driven fell in recent years.
Rail-Some $40 million from the capital budget and the rail funding assistance program is dispensed in Pennsylvania.
How to fund the state’s transportation needs? That question was given a 16 page treatment looking at existing sources, new sources, short-term, long-term, etc. Everything from increasing registration fees, tire fees, rental and lease fees and taxes were mentioned, along with dedicating certain sources of revenue to specific uses (like driver license fees to the state police or small games of chance for transportation) along with new forms of local taxation for transportation needs (sales tax, income tax, etc.). Many of the funding options were raised by the previous Governor’s transportation panel in 2006.