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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis November 29, 2013
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Pennsylvania Governor Signs Bipartisan Transportation Bill

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed the state’s most comprehensive transportation legislation in decades on Nov. 25, shifting funding away from a flat 12-cent gas tax, which will be eliminated as of Jan. 1, to a new financing structure that involves uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax (a tax on oil companies based on the wholesale price of gas) in a millage adjustment and making other changes in vehicle and drivers’ license fees.

The bill, the result of a bipartisan effort, is projected to generate $2.3 billion a year for highways, bridges, and public transportation. By the plan’s fifth year, the state will invest between $480 million to $495 million annually in ­public transportation, among other transportation initiatives.

“We are extremely happy that our legislature took the important step to pass a multimodal, comprehensive transportation funding solution for Pennsylvania,” said Leeann MacWilliams, executive director, Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA), adding that “mass transit and other modes are finally able to move forward and begin the work and improvements needed while maintaining a safe transportation system in Pennsylvania. Without action, the transportation network would continue to deteriorate and create a hardship for everyone no matter the mode of transportation they use.”

She said the bill will fund large infrastructure projects such as bridge replacements, technology investments, and job creation in public transportation systems throughout the state.

Joe Casey, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, said: “The investment that this bill provides over the coming decades will be nothing short of transformative for SEPTA’s aging system. Rehabilitating SEPTA’s essential infrastructure is an enormous responsibility that every SEPTA employee stands ready to undertake.”

Ellen McLean, interim chief executive officer of the Port Authority of ­Allegheny County, said the legislation will provide service stability for local employers, businesses, and 230,000 ­riders who rely on Port Authority’s bus and light rail system each day.

“Riders won’t worry every year about the possibility of losing the route that serves their neighborhood,” McLean said. “This has been a near-constant threat for several years and it’s tremendous progress to put that behind us. It’s time to move forward.”
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