Gas tax set to increase once again in 2017

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MANCHESTER TWP., Pa. - Drivers are once again preparing for a gas tax increase that will take effect in 2017.

A wholesale tax stemming from the state's passage of Act 89 in 2013 will result in an eight cent a gallon increase on Sunday.

"I'm not really excited about that, because that means I'll have to pay more money, and with this economy, I could barely afford that much food," Steve Chavez, a driver from York said.

"[It] doesn't seem that much, but it starts to build up and starts to hurt pockets a little bit," added driver Chanel Milligan.

The tax is imposed at the wholesale level, meaning it is imposed on distributors and operators who would likely pass that increase on to consumers, according to Rich Kirkpatrick of PennDOT.

The funds go directly toward state road construction projects.

"These resources are allowing PennDOT to get a stronger hold on the backlog of roads that need to be worked on and bridges that need to be worked on," Kirkpatrick said.

Greater fuel efficiency and reduced revenues stemming from the resulting fewer trips to the pump were a factor in the act's approval years ago.

"That's why I drive a Sentra; to keep the costs down," Randy Wachter, a driver, said. "[The increase is] a bunch of mularkey, but we do understand at the same time that we do need to fix our roads, and it's just one of those things that we have to grin and bear. We don't like it, but we live with it."

In all, the tax will help fund more than 1,500 road construction projects in the ten counties of the FOX43 viewing area, including new bridges, road widening and pavement rehabilitation projects over the next few years.

"We have a larger system than any of our surrounding states," Kirkpatrick said. "Our system is comparable in size to those of New York, New Jersey and all of New England combined, so we have a big challenge in Pennsylvania. Act 89 and these resources are allowing us to keep ahead of this."