Rich Fitzgerald, President of the Allegheny County Council, today added his voice to the call for an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. Fitzgerald says because the gas companies will be using public roadways and damaging them with heavy loads, a tax could help pay for road maintenance. He also said that since the upkeep of roadways usually comes from property taxes, it would be unfair for the public to pay for any damage caused by natural gas companies.
Fitzgerald says that currently Pennsylvania is the only "gas producing state that does not have an extraction tax," and says that not levying a tax is unacceptable. While he proposed that money be spent on environmental issues that might arise because of drilling, Fitzgerald emphasized that the first priority needs to be on infrastructure maintenance.
This comes after the Pennsylvania House passed a gas severance tax on September 30th. Income from the tax would be split with 40% going to the state and 60% going to communities and maintenance of company used roads. Under the measure, the first $70 million in revenues would go to the state's general fund. After that the 60-40 split would kick in.