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Pennsylvania Seeking To Change The Gas Tax, Looking For Other Revenue Options

LEVEL GREEN (KDKA) -- No one wants to pay a single cent more in taxes no matter what form they might come in, but Pennsylvania is trying to figure out a way to replace the Gas Tax.

Note the word: Replace.

With gas prices as high as they are the gas tax is a popular target among the driving public. At $0.59 a gallon, Pennsylvania has one of the highest state gas taxes in the country.

But here's the issue. With more people driving hybrid and electric cars, the gas tax is not bringing in the money it once did. That money is critically needed to repair the Commonwealth's roads and bridges.

So the state is looking for a way to eliminate the gas tax and 'replace' it with some other revenue stream.

"It's more of a shift than replacing it," says PA State Senator Jay Costa. "We don't have the money in Pennsylvania to fill these funding gaps, and that's part of the problem."

So everything is on the table from the very unpopular tolling of bridges, to increasing licensing fees, a milage tax, and a $0.25 to $1 fee on everything delivered to your home.

"What I call a package fee," says Costa. "Just think it's one of the things that we, the state will have to look at. We recognize now that more packages are being delivered around the country in Pennsylvania than ever before. The increased use of our roads and our highways, by these vehicles that are delivering these packages is part of that conversation."

This is one of the rare occasions where the idea didn't come from somewhere else. "No in fact, we probably, if we would implement it, it would we will be one of the first states in the country to implement it."

Senator Costa understands people are frustrated at the prospect of replacing one tax with some other way to raise the money needed for roads. But he's emphatic that the legislature is looking to make this change 'revenue neutral."

"Anyone of these proposals, any collection of needs in the aggregate will replace the gasoline tax, so it's a different way in which we are asking folks to participate and help to pay for the maintenance of our roads and our bridges and our highways."

How soon that "participation" will start will depend on the recomendations, the public input, and of course politics. But Senator Costa puts the time frame at "over the next couple of years."

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