Workable gas tax solution a key to transportation budget

02/12/2018 04:46 PM

FRANKFORT – House Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation chair Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Union, says the biggest priority in crafting a road plan this session is finding a workable gas tax plan which can effectively fund many of the road projects.

The money collected from the gas tax has dropped in recent years with the fall in gas prices and better mileage in newer cars which has led to a shortfall which was helped recently with only the increased number of vehicles bought in the state.

“If it wasn’t for all of the motor vehicles bought in the past year, we would have been in desperate need of more funding,” Santoro said. “We were very fortunate that that happened so we were able to maintain our transportation department, because through the constitution, they are only using road money for transportation.”

Santoro believes that the high volume of cars bought in the state which helped this past year will not continue, as industry experts have predicted a leveling off period of vehicle sales.

Santoro points to specific vehicles which are more heavily in use which have led to a drop in gas usage which, in turn, has led to the shortfall in collected gas tax funds.

“The CAFE cars are 40 miles a gallon,” Santoro said. “We are looking to make some changes this session, I don’t know if it’s going to be tax reform or a stand alone bill, but we are going to start identifying those areas and we are going to try and fix these big problems.”

Santoro said it will be up to the working group to come up with a workable plan to better fund transportation needs in the commonwealth.

“We’re going to have recommendations to our leadership, on both parties, and then we’re going to march down to the Senate and see if they can come to a conclusion on what are problems are and maybe we can fix them,” Santoro said.

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