CONVENTIONAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
Federal regulations require that Long Range Transportation Plans include a financial plan. The financial plan should identify reasonable funding resources sufficient to implement the current and proposed projects within the 20-year fiscal constraint period to demonstrate the federal transportation system is being adequately operated and maintained. The program of projects will be implemented if the project development process requirements are satisfied and the financial resources assumed in the RTP are in place.
PennDOT provided financial guidance in the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) entitled "Scenario 4: Transportation Program Financial Guidance." The document provided Year of Expenditure (YOE) calculations for estimating project costs and inflation factors for projecting transportation revenue growth over the life span of the RTP. Project revenue was projected to 2040 using baseline funding provided in the draft HATS 2019-2022 TIP, estimated inflation rate factors consistent with the financial guidance recommendations, as well as historic revenue trends and financial assumptions developed by evaluating prior years' federal, state and local expenditures.
The HATS 2040 Regional Transportation Plan is fiscally constrained. The estimated cost of the transportation investments proposed to meet the needs and recommendations defined in the 2040 RTP are within the projected revenue for the next 20 years. The total projected revenue anticipated to be available over the same period is approximately $4.2 billion.
When Surface Transportation Program – Urban (STU) funding is proposed to be used in future Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) development, all projects must be consistent with the HATS Regional Transportation Plan’s priorities.
The financial analysis relies on current recommended economic factors to estimate future available revenue and project cost estimates. The calculations do not consider any potential unforeseen economic events that may present a positive or negative impact to the current projection of available revenue, as well as estimates of project needs and associated costs.
The RTP is not intended to be a standalone funding program. The plan serves as the basis for determining project priorities among many competing regional transportation needs and improves the decision-making process for the development of the biannual Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). One factor that may contribute to the remaining revenue estimated for the out years of the plan was the enactment of state transportation legislation known as Act 89, signed by the Governor in the fall of 2013. The legislation package provided a significant increase in transportation funding for the Commonwealth, including the HATS region, through a variety of initiatives including an increase in the statewide oil franchise fuel tax over a multi-year progression, and various motor license fee increases.