New native taxes for public transit could also be on the way in which for some Pennsylvania counties

(The Middle Sq.) – Public transportation funding has been a rising concern in some cities, and a proposed invoice may give some Pennsylvania counties the authority to levy native taxes to help their transit methods.

Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery, launched HB2366 to grant Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties the power to levy taxes “​​for transit and transportation methods and transportation infrastructure.”

The counties may then levy three sorts of taxes: a tax on actual property transfers, an area earnings tax, and an area gross sales tax. 

The tax income may then be used for grants to native transportation organizations and mass transit companies, and to fund infrastructure tasks resembling highway and bridge development (in addition to for upkeep and restore prices). The grants may very well be collectively issued with close by counties and used as matching funds for infrastructure tasks.

The funding “offers our extra populated counties with further choices to fund transportation tasks of native significance,” Hennessey stated.

Public transit in Pennsylvania is usually better-funded than the remainder of the nation. PennDOT notes that it ranks 4th within the nation for direct help in funding public transportation. About $1.5 billion goes into the general public transportation belief fund (16.5% of PennDOT’s annual funding).

At a February Senate Appropriation Committee listening to, Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Jennie Louwerse famous that the state “is in a very good state of affairs with mass transportation.” Additional federal funds for coronavirus aid strengthened budgets. “Transit companies mustn’t expertise a niche in that funding for the following a number of years,” Louwerse stated.

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Nonetheless, these funds will decline sooner or later. Funding from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, too, will disappear. Future funding issues may develop if legislators don’t discover a solution to exchange these funds – particularly as declining fuel tax revenues squeezes PennDOT.

Native devoted funding from gross sales taxes or earnings taxes could also be a brand new trigger for protest, however taxpayers should fund these methods in some way. Native accountability could create wiser governance than state-level funds.