A proposal to raise nearly $2 billion annually for the state’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems flopped recently in the legislature, partly because it would end up increasing prices at the pump through a wholesale fuel tax increase.
But state Representative Brad Roae, R-Crawford, said there’s a way to raise the funds without raising taxes. Roae said he plans to introduce legislation that would provide $6.6 billion for road and bridge repairs in its first decade by relying on sales tax revenue collected on automobile purchases in the state.
Roae said Pennsylvania currently collects approximately $1.2 billion in sales tax revenue based on automobile sales in Pennsylvania.
Roae’s bill would start by transitioning 10 percent of that amount, or $120 million, away from the state budget, where it currently goes, to the state Motor License Fund, which is used to pay for road and bridge repairs.
The $120 million moved from the state General Fund in the first year represents approximately 0.4 percent of the current $28.4 billion state budget.
“I think state government should be able to live on 99.6 percent of its current budget in order to fix our roads and bridges,” Roae said. “If you asked most Pennsylvanians whether they’d prefer to pay more in taxes or force state government to trim 0.4 percent of its budget to pay for roads and bridges, I believe most people would think it is reasonable to expect Harrisburg to do more with less.”