ELECTION 2014: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates on transportation

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Four weeks from today voters in Pennsylvania will head to the ballot box, if they haven’t already filled out an absentee ballot, and cast votes for elected officials that include the governor.

Gov. Tom Corbett is seeking a second term at the helm. The Republican governor is running against Democrat Tom Wolf.

One issue that is drawing attention during the lead-up to Election Day is transportation funding.

Corbett signed a $2.4 billion transportation spending plan late last year that includes a nearly 40-cent-per-gallon diesel tax increase. State lawmakers signed off on the plan to raise various taxes and fees to address a $3.5 billion shortfall.

The governor touted the plan as bringing together Republicans and Democrats, business and labor to “set the stage for safety and economic prosperity here in the commonwealth.”

The main part of the plan removed the state’s 12-cent-per-gallon flat tax on fuel and replaced it by lifting the cap on the oil company franchise tax. The franchise tax previously was applied only to the first $1.25 per gallon of the wholesale price.

Uncapping the franchise tax is estimated to increase the per-gallon tax on diesel by 39.8 cents over five years because oil companies are expected to pass along much of the increase to consumers. The gas tax is likely to increase by about 28.5 cents.

Wolf criticized Corbett for signing off on the tax and fee increases in a campaign ad.

Corbett’s campaign has pointed out that Wolf previously went as far as to “applaud” the Legislature and governor for approving the transportation bill.

Wolf’s campaign says investing in infrastructure is one of the main issues his administration would address. He is described as the owner of a business that makes and distributes kitchen cabinets across the state and country.

The Democratic candidate’s plan to improve infrastructure would “bring together key stakeholders, engage the private sector, and leverage private dollars to kick-start projects” that would include high-speed rail to move products quickly from Philadelphia to Chicago.

To view more information on Gov. Corbett’s actions on transportation issues, visit votesmart.org. Wolf’s plan for “building a 21st century infrastructure” can be viewed here.

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