Pennsylvania debates increase in gas tax

News AASHTO Journal December 19, 2003
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Citing a recent report that substandard road conditions are costing commonwealth motorists more than $800 a year, the Pennsylva

Citing a recent report that substandard road conditions are costing commonwealth motorists more than $800 a year, the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association is asking the legislature to increase the gas tax by more than 5 cents per gallon for transportation enhancements.


An increase would be the first for the state since 1997 when it was raised to 26 cents per gallon. Another five cents would make it the highest in the U.S., according to press reports. That tax increase, however, could add about $315 million a year to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's bottom line.


Pennsylvania continues to wrestle with its fiscal year 2004 budget, but Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Madigan is supportive of an increase. "I believe the time is right for the General Assembly and Gov. (Ed) Rendell to work on a funding initiative that will jump start this economy and provide an improved transportation network that all of our citizens and businesses will benefit from," Madigan said.


Ron Geist, managing director of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association, which supports the tax increase, said the increased revenue would go toward completing turnpike and expressway projects, municipal governments for their road projects and PennDOT.


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