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Transportation Revenue Options Commission Submits Report

by PennDOT

Aug 03, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that the Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) has submitted its report to Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly.

On March 12, Governor Wolf signed an executive order establishing the commission, which was tasked with developing comprehensive funding recommendations for Pennsylvania’s vast transportation network. TROC is comprised of transportation, economic, and community stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including majority and minority leaders from the House and Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees.

“I wholeheartedly thank the members of TROC for their hard work and engagement,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian, who serves as TROC chair. “Throughout this process, we have had thoughtful and productive discussions, and we are now presenting the governor and the General Assembly with a host of well-researched options for consideration.”

In 2019, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) identified major risks to transportation funding such as reduced fuel revenues, unpredictable federal funding, and legislative changes to reduce commitments. PennDOT’s latest assessment places the annual gap of its needs in all state-level modes and facilities at $9.3 billion, growing to an annual $14.5 billion gap by 2030. Additionally, infrastructure maintained by local governments faces an annual shortfall of nearly $4 billion, growing to $5.1 billion per year by 2030.

The TROC report presents an overview of transportation funding in Pennsylvania and outlines the commission’s review of several potential revenue sources including road user charges, tolling, redirection of funding, fees, and taxes. Analysis of each option includes potential revenue that a given solution could bring the commonwealth, concerns raised by commission members relating to each option, and suggested next steps.

The TROC’s work was informed by presentations and materials provided during and associated with its nine meetings held since March 25. Those materials – such as a report of PennDOT Efficiencies – can be found with meeting presentations, minutes, and recordings on the TROC page.

“This commission represents nearly 50 transportation stakeholders, with a diversity of positions on the potential funding options discussed,” said Gramian. “Those varied perspectives were crucial to our discussions and are represented in the final report.”

The commission was divided into eight workgroups related to a specific revenue need or potential option.

“As the Transportation Revenue Options Commission met frequently in recent months, it became very clear that our commission benefited greatly from a diverse group of experts and stakeholders,” TROC workgroup leader and Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “Because the commission included authorities from state and local governments, members of the General Assembly, and transportation professionals, we were able to analyze the issues at hand from many vantage points. That helped us generate a thorough report that provides solutions to address Pennsylvania’s critical transportation funding needs in the near term and in the future.”

“We’ve long advocated for several of the suggested solutions, including fair electric vehicle user fees, a delivery fee for goods and services and the complete removal of the State Police from the Motor License Fund,” said Robert Latham, TROC workgroup leader and executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors. “We look forward to further exploring and continuing the discussion on the other solutions offered in the TROC report.”

“As a representative of local government on TROC, I am excited to see the growth and commitment of PennDOT and other stakeholders in understanding the critical role that local government plays in our transportation network and the recognition that local governments are an integral part of Pennsylvania’s economy and its residents’ quality of life,” said TROC workgroup leader David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.

“This report presents an opportunity to adequately fund the current and significant unmet needs of all the transportation modes in the state,” said TROC workgroup leader Ronald Drnevich, who also serves on the State Transportation Commission. “When fully implemented, the options in the report provide for the elimination of the gas tax in Pennsylvania. It needs the support our leadership, our businesses and the public, and is an opportunity that should not be missed.”

“My hope is that we can collectively commit to these long-term funding options that will strengthen the economic climate and help meet Pennsylvania’s investment needs at both the state and local level,” said Amy Kessler, TROC workgroup leader and director of community development and regional planning at the North Central Regional Planning Commission. “As we have learned over the past five months, it will take forward thinking, new ideas and many partners working together to grow our economy, create a safer and more resilient transportation network, better connect our rural areas and support technological and operational advancements that will allow every corner of the commonwealth to compete in the global market.”

Rebecca Oyler, TROC workgroup leader and president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, who has expressed concerns about various options, particularly tolling, suggested that the report be “viewed as a list of policy options that can be further examined by our legislative leaders as they consider transportation funding solutions in the future.”

“The TROC represents stakeholders from various industries, backgrounds and knowledge to come together for one very important reason: to ensure our transportation network is viable now and into the future,” said Leeann Sherman, TROC workgroup leader and executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA. “Our transportation network is vital to our quality of life, food security and economic growth now and into the future. The information vetted through and presented by the TROC gives our administration and legislators options to consider as they create a final plan to maintain, modernize and ensure our best Pennsylvania is here for generations.

Now that the report has been submitted, TROC recommends that leadership and technical teams be established to support the Administration and General Assembly in further evaluation and implementation of potential funding options.

“Our work is far from over,” said Gramian. “PennDOT is committed to continued collaboration with stakeholders and our colleagues in the General Assembly in support of reliable transportation funding.”

For more information about transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit www.PennDOT.gov/funding.

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