The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

December 31, 2013

Readers' Forum 12-31 | Keep transportation bill money here

JOHNSTOWN — It is unreal what our state has done with this new transportation bill that Gov. Tom Corbett recently signed. He promises that our infrastructure (our roads and bridges) be repaired or replaced. I don’t mind using our tax dollars for this, not send it to Philadelphia. There are a lot of roads around here that need attention and I for one don’t want my money sent or even spent somewhere I don’t live at.

This is about as bad as Obamacare. Have any of our House or Senate representatives read this 127-page bill? Probably not.

So now every Pennsylvanian will now have to dig more in our empty pockets to pay up for vehicle registration, pay more for gas and everything else that we can’t afford but we will still have potholes no matter what happens. Thanks Corbett.

Paul Schonvisky

Johnstown

Bill gets funding from user fee

I read a Readers’ Forum letter Dec. 23 by Dennis Naugle, “New year off to a bad start,” suggesting the state should have “tried to get money from other sources before hitting the taxpayers” for roads and bridges.

I’m not sure where the confusion is, but the transportation bill does exactly what the writer asks. It does not get money from the taxpayers. The bill gets funding from basically a user fee. The user is actually anybody that buys fuel in Pennsylvania, not Pennsylvania taxpayers.

So anybody from any other state or country that uses our roads helps us pay to build and maintain our roads and bridges. I can’t think of a fairer tax than that.

Taxpayers fund many programs that they do not utilize and we pay real estate taxes to school districts where we may not have students attending. I guess we could have a giant bake sale to raise funds for roads. I’m not sure that will get any traction, but if it does I know someone that makes a great banana bread.

Also comparing state fuel taxes to other states is not a fair assessment. Other states may not be taxed as much on fuel, but they fund road work out of their general funds too, not just their gas tax. In Pennsylvania, fuel taxes are used only for highway and bridge-related work, and, to a small extent, Pennsylvania state police patrol these roads.

Gov. Tom Corbett set out to fund road and bridge construction as a top priority and with the help of the legislature passed the fairest way to achieve it.

Jim Vasilko

Richland Township

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