|January 10, 2013 03:06 PM
|Representative Jerry Knowles
|All House members
|Prohibiting the "Flexing" of Federal Highway and Bridge Funding for Use by Mass Transit Systems
|In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation that would prohibit the State Transportation Commission (STC) from diverting any of Pennsylvania’s allocation of federal funding dedicated to highways and bridges for the subsidizing of mass transit authorities in the Commonwealth.
Currently, the 15 members of the Transportation Commission, all gubernatorial appointees, have the authority to “flex” those federal highway dollars that are not specifically appropriated and use those funds for other transportation purposes, such as funding mass transit.
During the Rendell Administration, $258 million in federal highway funding was “flexed” to help support the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA). That money was intended to help Pennsylvania maintain, repair and reconstruct its highways and bridges.
At that time, Pennsylvania faced a serious transportation funding problem, one that has grown much worse since then. It is estimated that Pennsylvania now needs an additional $3.5 billion a year to adequately fund its transportation system in all modes.
We simply cannot afford to allow any further “flexing” of federal highway dollars away from their intended purpose. Given the daunting transportation infrastructure funding crisis that Pennsylvania currently faces, I believe it is imperative to keep federal highway dollars flowing to roads and bridges, where they are desperately needed.
Introduced as HB160