Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Who is paying for the repairs of our roads?

Jim Kunz
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 5, 2020

Long-term transportation and infrastructure budget challenges are concerning for all Pennsylvanians who want good roads, but even more so for the union trades that work to improve and expand our infrastructure (Feb. 16, “Rough Roads: Pennsylvania Facing Tough Decisions on Transportation Funding”).

Quality infrastructure is the blueprint for a growing economy, and our roads and bridges are funded through state and federal taxes on gasoline, of which Pennsylvania’s is the second highest. The rising number of electric vehicles presents a troubling problem for highway funding.

Electric vehicle drivers don’t fill up at the pump like the rest of us and, therefore, bypass paying the gas tax. That sticks the rest of us with the bill to fund our roads.

Greater fuel efficiency and electric vehicle adoption is a good thing. But without policy action, the gas tax risks becoming regressive, disproportionately impacting drivers who can’t afford luxury Teslas. And a failure to act threatens the availability of dollars to fund repairs for our roads and bridges.

Pittsburgh is the city of bridges, but as electric vehicles continuously increase their market share, who is left to pay for the maintenance and repairs?

JIM KUNZ
Business Manager International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66
O’Hara
The writer is also the general vice president of the International Union of Operating Engineers.