The Pennsylvania Transportation Funding Advisory Commission just issued its final report on a strategy to improve the commonwealth's transportation funding. Aside from a list of recommendations for streamlining operations, the Commission made the following key recommendations for solving the commonwealth's transportation revenue and funding problems:
- Expand program management and outsourcing, including bundling "individual projects into programs—such as rehabilitating 100 to 300 bridges at one time—and engag[ing] experienced private sector program managers to produce benefits for PennDOT as well as local governments."
- Adopt P3 legislation. The report expressly recognized the cost efficiencies and construction time savings that PPPs generate. It cautions that "for PPPs to be an option, there would need to be revenue generation for operations and maintenance associated with the facility (e.g., tolling, fare collection)." A PPP bill has been tied up in the Legislature, but sources indicate that the Legislature may be poised to act now that the Commission has endorsed PPP authorizing legislation.
- Create state authority to toll all interstates and devote the revenues exclusively to each corridor. The report also recommends flexibility to use existing public as well as private toll operators. The report recognizes that federal restrictions on tolling interstates will also need to evolve, an issue the commonwealth is acutely familiar with after FHWA denial of its SEP-15 application to toll I-80.
- Undertake a detailed study on how to transition from the fuel tax to "a new method of revenue generation for highway funding." The report emphasizes that any new method charge users "equally based on their usage." Without using the acronym "VMT," the report clearly is pointing toward vehicle miles traveled as the fundamental basis for generating reliable, fair, and equitable highway funding revenues.
In over 41 years with the Firm, Fred Kessler has gained national recognition as a guiding force for public agencies in the field of transportation public-private partnerships (P3s). Clients benefit from his vast experience with ...
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