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Pennsylvania considering package delivery tax to help repair, maintain roads

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania officials are considering instituting a delivery tax on every package delivered in the state by Amazon, Fed Ex and UPS to help maintain the state’s highways.

There is a deficit in the state budget and officials say a package tax may solve that. They are also considering implementing the tax on local grocery store and restaurant deliveries.

In 2019, more than 550 million parcels were shipped in Pennsylvania. Last year that number almost hit 800 million.

With PennDOT reporting a nearly $8 billion shortage in funding this year, the commission says a delivery fee of $0.25 per delivery, which is what’s on the table right now, could mean big bucks for our roads.

But for people like Francis Meadows and many others, this tax seems like an unfair burden that on people, who now more than ever rely on shipping services.

“I kind of think it’s tragic that we’re gonna tax people, maybe they’re shut-ins or just different groups of people who aren’t able to get to stores or different people who aren’t close to different locations,” she said.

Meadows said there are other sources of funding the state should be targeting, rather than taxing.

“Taxing pieces that people utilize by choice versus necessity, so your tobacco, your alcohol, your cannabis pieces might make more sense because that’s not a necessity. That is something that you choose to do,” Meadows said.

But Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Yasmin Gramian says taxing purchasers who use Amazon and other delivery services makes perfect sense.

“Anyone who has packages delivered to their front door or uses ridesharing services or shops at a retailer that gives goods delivered by truck are beneficiaries of the national highway system even if they never get behind the wheel of a car,” Gramian said.

This package tax/fee would be a first of its kind in the country, but New York and Colorado are also considering the idea. The report will be presented to Governor Wolf on this tax on Aug. 1 in Pittsburgh.