Eric Boehm reports that Democratic and Republican lawmakers appear to have broad agreement on the recommendations in Tom Corbett’s special Transportation Funding Advisory Commission report. Lawmakers from both parties recognize that the gas tax and various fees will have to increase to pay for the huge backlog of road, bridge and transit projects that need funding.
The problem continues to be that Tom Corbett refuses to lead, and won’t endorse his own Commission’s recommendations, so nothing’s happening. The most likely explanation seems to be that Corbett doesn’t want to break the No Tax Pledge he made to unelected anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist when he was running for Governor:
Steve Chizmar, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said this week that the governor has no timeline for moving on transportation issues.
“The administration continues to look for a solution that is going to be the best choice for all of Pennsylvania,” he said.
During the summer of 2011, a Corbett-appointed panel of transportation experts from the public and private sectors made several funding recommendations, which the governor has so far left on the shelf.
The commission’s report suggested uncapping a portion of the state’s gasoline tax and increasing fees for vehicle registration and drivers’ licenses.
State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, and state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, introduced bills that mirrored the commission’s recommendations, but neither has moved.
Corbett has said he is reluctant to do anything that will take money out of the pockets of Pennsylvania residents at a time when the state’s economy is still recovering.