Public transit operates in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – moving millions of riders each day, employing thousands of workers, and bolstering the economy of urban and rural economies throughout our state.
These PA transit riders, workers, and systems are already the engines of our economy and backbone of our communities. Together they connect families, seniors and youth to jobs, school, food, healthcare and commerce. They power our institutions, fuel our small businesses, care for our loved ones, and generate the taxes that make PA run.
The end of the state’s major transit funding bill, Act 89, in 2022 presents both a cataclysmic threat and a transformational opportunity.
Losing public transit would be disastrous for Pennsylvania.
Expanding public transit is the ticket to propel PA into the 21st century.
Robust and dedicated funding for Pennsylvanians public transit will pay dividends. It will mobilize a workforce to power our economic recovery. It will revitalize Main Streets all across our state. It will protect our environment and reduce congestion, wear, and tear on our roads. Above all, robust dedicated transit funding will help legislators in Harrisburg avoid partisan gridlock and create access for seniors and families across our state.
Now is the time to put forward a bold vision for what public transit can do for our commonwealth.
This platform does just that. was developed by the transit riders and workers who are the daily drivers of PA’s economy. We believe that robust and dedicated public transit funding is essential for a future of economic growth and expanded opportunity for all of PA’s residents.
Read through the platform points below and sign-on to support Transit to Move All Pennsylvanians.
We believe that transit should be funded:
1. To serve Pennsylvania’s diverse needs. Transit is rural and urban; it is for people of all ages and abilities. Pennsylvania has shared-ride service for seniors and people with disabilities in every county of the state, medium-sized systems in cities like State College, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster, Scranton and Harrisburg, and large transit systems in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Transit funding matters to the entire state.
2. Through progressive mechanisms. We need to end tax loopholes and favoritism so that corporations and the super-wealthy pay their fair share.
3. With sustainable, long-term funding sources. Transit agencies need dependable, long-term funding to make responsible decisions about preserving or expanding service, so that public transit workers and riders are not faced with service cuts, fare increases, and or layoffs to address funding shortfalls. Funding should also be flexible, so that local transit agencies can prioritize capital or operations funding needs.
4. Equitably with roads and bridges. We believe in a fix-it first approach to our highway systems, and that highway expansion runs counter to our responsibilities around climate resiliency, congestion mitigation, mode-shift needs and our other fiscal responsibilities.
5. With transit riders and transit workers at the table. People who use and run the system should be at the table for deciding the funding mechanisms and in evaluating how those funds should be invested in our regions. Those with the most at stake (and who know how the system works) should be given an important voice in decision-making.
6. Without inflicting harm or funding reductions to other essential state services and programs. Transit plays an essential role in access to employment, healthcare, housing, and education, but none of their funding sources should be cannibalized to pay for the other. All these critical state services must be fully funded – as well as transit.
1. To generate $1.65 billion dollars/year to replace Act 89’s funding for transit. These resources will bolster the state’s Public Transit Trust Fund and will grow as strong transit systems boost our state’s economy. This funding will be used to explicitly support transit service expansion and a fix-it first approach to capital projects.
2. To pass legislation enabling local governments to implement new transit funding mechanisms, while ensuring that local funds are supplemental and not used to replace a shortfall from the state.
3. To ensure that state transit funding is flexible around capital and operations.
4. To ensure that public infrastructure, including public transit, roads and bridges, remain publicly-owned and operated.
5. To ensure that construction and transit operations in PA are done by union workers.
6. To move towards clean, electrified public transportation fleets that retain and create union mechanic and engineering jobs in garages across PA.
7. To ensure that there is robust funding at the state level for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, with an emphasis on accessible and safe bike and pedestrian connections to transit.
8. To generate funding for a dedicated low-income fare program statewide, similar to the existing senior fare free transit programs, administered by the state.
9. To develop state guidelines around “transit-oriented communities,” and to create a fund to support the development of affordable housing by good transit.
10. To decriminalize fare evasion at the state level, and to enable local jurisdictions to set local civil processes to address fare evasion.
11. To ensure that transit riders have a governing role on transit agency boards, through the creation of elected seats and transparency around board members’ transit usage.
Menu of possible funding options
Negotiations around transit funding will be difficult, but we must find solutions to keep our state moving. PA transit riders and workers put forward this “menu” of options for our legislators to consider.
We support general reforms to the tax code to make revenue streams into the PA General Fund more equitable, including implementing the Fair Share tax and closing the Delaware loophole. However, because we recognize that these mechanisms will ensure that the General Fund is able to address the Commonwealth’s education and public health needs, among other critical priorities, our focus is on the below-listed tax revenue sources for dedicated statewide funding towards public transit. We are also strongly in favor of removing the PA State Police from the Motor License Fund, which will save upwards of $800 million dollars annually to be invested in transportation.
We additionally support local revenue sources for expanding transit funding that include congestion pricing, taxing private parking lots, taxing large non-profits, and land value taxes.
After consultation with riders, workers, and advocates we would like to guide PA legislators to the following range of state funding mechanisms that we support, to provide a dedicated statewide revenue stream for public transit:
Corporate and Individual Wealth Taxes
Corporate Income Tax Increase: An increase on the tax on the profits of a PA corporation
Implementation of a Corporate Head Tax: Implementation of a flat fee charged per employee for businesses over a certain size
Wealth Tax: Implementation of a tax on the net wealth a Pennsylvania resident holds, for those with total wealth over several million dollars
Road User Fees:
TNC Fee: A per ride tax on any Transportation Network Company (TNC) company trip like Uber or Lyft
Interstate Tolling: A statewide toll of interstates and expressways
Mileage-Based User Fees: This new road user charge will charge 3.16 cents to 7 cents per mile
Excise Tax on Vehicle Delivery: This is a percentage of value on goods delivered from third-party delivery companies, like Amazon
Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI): This is a cap on carbon emissions from various transportation fuels. A minimum of 35% of this revenue will be allocated to environmental justice communities that are unjustly affected by pollution and the remaining portion will go to alternative transportation solutions
Progressive Vehicle Ownership Taxes:
Increase to Truck and Tractor-trailer Registration Fees: These fees will be tacked on heavy-duty trucks and tractor-trailers registered in the state of Pennsylvania
Vehicle Property Tax: This is a percentage fee on the assessed value of a vehicle (or .35% of the annual value)
New Car Vehicle Sales Tax: This will increase in the current vehicle sales tax to address the Act 44/89 sunset in 2022
Luxury Vehicle Tax: This is a tax on all of the luxury vehicles sold and registered in the state of Pennsylvania
Vehicle Rental Tax: This is an increase on a tax on all vehicle rentals made in the state of Pennsylvania.
Sign-On to the Transit for All PA! platform
Whether you are an organization, union, business, politician or individual who supports public transit, you can sign on to this platform to save and expand transit access to opportunity in PA.
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