Transportation Plan Falls Short of Principles

We’ve received several requests for our assessment of Governor Corbett’s transportation proposal, in light of our principles for transportation funding. Here is our take.

First, transportation is a core function of government. Therefore, it should be prioritized in the spending of taxpayer money.

Second, people should pay for the government they use; in this case, our roads, highways, bridges, and mass transit systems. Therefore, taxes and fees for our transportation infrastructure and systems should be paid for, as directly as possible, by those who benefit from and use them. User fees on toll roads and actual ride-cost fares on transit are just a few ways to tie the funding by the users to the services rendered.

Third, before any taxes or fees are raised, current transportation tax/fee revenues must be maximized. Therefore, in addition to maximizing PennDOT and Turnpike Commission efficiencies, we should repeal prevailing wage, require mass transit to engage in competitive contracting and reduce subsidies for those users who can pay their own way, and utilize Public-Private Partnerships to bring private-sector capital and risk-sharing to fund our transportation needs.

Transportation funding is an important issue to address, but the taxpayers should not be asked to pay a penny more until state government better spends the billions it already receives from them.