A modern, safe and efficient transportation infrastructure is necessary for the health of Pennsylvania’s economy, the free flow of goods and commerce and the mobility of its citizens. Policymakers must continue to recognize and to foster transportation infrastructure, which includes roads, rail, air, transit and water. The PA Chamber promotes public policy and taxation options that help to support the state’s transportation systems.

Chamber Chats: Fall Session Priorities

September 11, 2023

Lawmakers return to Harrisburg later this month, and the PA Chamber is excited to continue promoting bipartisan, pro-business solutions we are championing to make Pennsylvania a more competitive state for business. For the latest edition of Chamber Chats, the PA Chamber’s Lindsay Andrews caught up with our Vice President of Government Affairs, Alex Halper, to […]

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Philly Event Highlights Bipartisan Calls for Permitting Reform

September 11, 2023

This past Friday, PA Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Alex Halper participated in a panel discussion in Philadelphia focused on permitting reform. The organization Building a Better America hosted the panel discussion at the Sprinklerfitter’s Local 692 union hall in northeast Philadelphia.  Joining Halper on the panel were State Senator Frank Farry (R-Bucks), State […]

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Commuter Services Provides Employers Access to Transportation Resources as a Workforce Development Strategy

November 23, 2021

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, workforce development has become an important topic of discussion as employers compete to fill open positions.  Transportation is one of the major barriers faced by individuals seeking work, and Commuter Services can be a vital tool to help provide transportation resources to both employers and employees.   Commuter […]

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The free-flowing movement of goods and citizens is vital to sustaining a healthy and growing state and national economy. Maintaining modern, efficient, sustainable, and safe transportation systems is a corefunction of local, state and federal government and funding these systems in the commonwealth requires constructive partnership between all levels of government and the private sector.

Safe and reliable travel on Pennsylvania roads and bridges are paramount, requiring significant investments for maintenance, Our infrastructure is aging; Pennsylvania’s geographic significance on both north-south and east-west shipping corridors contributes to wear and tear; and the state’s harsh winter climate and hot summers also pose a challenge to the design, construction, and upkeep of the state’s heavily traveled roads and bridges. Innovative approaches to funding structures, utilizing emerging transportation technology and the working relationships between government and the private sector, will all help us tackle these challenges in order to advance, and achieve a 21st-century transportation system.

The PA Chamber supports policies that will foster safe, efficient, and interconnected systems of air, road, water, and rail to improve the competitiveness of our businesses and attract new businesses to locate in our
state. To compete and make Pennsylvania the best state in the country for business, we need laws that demonstrate leadership toward a future economy and improved quality of life for Pennsylvania citizens and businesses.

Currently, almost all state and federal funding for transportation spending comes from liquid fuels taxes on oil, diesel, and gasoline. These taxes are, in essence, user fees, and policymakers should ensure that those using our systems of transportation are appropriately paying for it. These funds should be used fortransportation and infrastructure and not diverted for other purposes. In addition to a fuels tax, other funding options structured as user fees may be necessary as the use of transportation evolves; for example, lawmakers may consider a tax based on miles traveled or efficient electronic tolling of state highways to respond to the proliferation of higher efficiency or alternative fuel vehicles. The federal government should also continue to provide funding for maintaining the nation’s highway system, recognizing the interstate connectedness of transportation systems. Finally, policymakers should consider innovative approaches to equitably fund public transit, particularly as diversions from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to support public transit have phased down in recent years.

Reducing regulatory burdens will lessen the time and resources needed to navigate multiple layers of local, state, and federal bureaucracy, allowing for more labor and capital to be directed to maintaining and improving the state’s transportation system. Public-private partnerships, provided they are entered into in a transparent and equitable manner, are a proven and viable means to achieve more effective build-out and maintenance of the system and should continue to be used, including as part of modernizing, and increasing the efficiency of the 89 public transit systems that are a key resource to move commuters, residents, and visitors. Regulators should also grant appropriate flexibility to freight, rail, and cargo operators when implementing various requirements. Finally, updating and reforming the state’s costly, outdated prevailing wage laws will allow more funding to be directed to the actual cost of building and maintaining the state’s transportation system.

The PA Chamber supports policy that encourages the research, development, adoption, and safe deployment of innovative transportation technology and opposes overly burdensome regulations that inhibit their adoption. For example, advances in transportation technology, such as autonomous and connected vehicles and ridesharing services, have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of moving people and goods on our state and nation’s roadways while dramatically increasing safety. Further, establishing Pennsylvania as a leader in the research, testing, and development of these technologies will positively impact economic development and further cement the state’s position as a leader in innovation and new technology. These industries and emerging technologies should be encouraged with smart, growth-oriented policies, including tax reform to support start-ups and regulatory reform to expedite the issuance of state permits for new projects and expansions.

Employers in Pennsylvania continue to report difficulty finding individuals qualified for job openings within their companies or applicants who could be trained. This challenging labor dynamic is impacting the transportation sector as well, and a lack of workers threatens to impede the industry’s growth and its potential impact on our broader economy. The PA Chamber supports policies and initiatives to help address these workforce challenges and position Pennsylvania workers and employers for long-term success, including effective job training and workforce development programs that align education systems with our economy and the needs of employers. In the short term, lawmakers should advance policies that encourage employment and facilitate career opportunities for a broad range of our population. For example; policymakers might evaluate and consider safely implementing a policy to lower the age for Commercial Driver’s License Holders to cross state lines from 21 to 18.
See also the Infrastructure Policy position statement.
See also Workforce Development Policy position statement.

Revised by the Policy Committee in February 2024. Approved by the Board of Directors on May 10, 2024.