…then somebody needs to explain this slide to me:
This is from the Draft of the 422Plus slide show that was presented to Governor Tom Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission (“TFAC”) yesterday. Full slide show can be viewed here.
I call your attention to total annual funds needed for Operations and Maintenance of $16.04M and the total annual fare revenue of $3.97M. If I’m reading this correctly, and someone please tell me if I’m not, a full 85% of the funding for the annual operating and maintenance of the Choo Choo is coming from the state. So much for a self-sustaining transportation alternative.
We can talk “alternate funding sources” all we like; at the end of the day it’s academic. There is only ONE funding source: you and I, the tax payers. Eventually, no matter what it is that is taxed, it’s you and I that pay for it, either directly or indirectly.
Some relevant quotes on taxation from the folks who support the additional tax burden to justify the ChooChoo train. Pottstown Mercury:
Hoeffel said the plan would be funded initially by a $1-billion bond issue, which would be repaid by the tolls, and open in 2015. Hoeffel emphasized the project should be under local management and revenue should remain in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.
“What we raise here should stay here,” Hoeffel said.
The 422 tolling plan could be a model for other roads in the state.
Hoeffel said the plan has not been presented to local governments or the General Assembly, which would need to enact enabling legislation for the plan and bond issue.
The governing bodies “need leadership. I guess the negative way of saying it is, ‘They need cover,’” Hoeffel said.
“What we raise here should stay here,” sounds great in theory but what it means in practice is the creation of a local taxation authority ala the Pennsylvania Turpike Commission and Delaware River Port Authority, institutions famous for their political patronage job creating abilities.
If perhaps you’ve forgotten that the 202 corridor has just benefitted from a half a billion dollars in funding for road improvements, without imposing a toll, I direct your attention to this post.
My favorite quote, though, comes from Carol Rein of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who is apparently an expert on road tolling mechanisms and claims that Texas and Florida have the best tolling and transportation funding programs around the country. Her quote is especially jarring:
“You have to pick taxes that are hard to evade, so you can predict their collectibility,”