Rental Tax Hike Takes Effect in Pa.

Fare hikes, a controversial drink tax and an additional levy on rental cars all recently kicked in to provide more money for a cash-strapped public transit system in Allegheny County, Pa., the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports.

A car rental tax, already $2 a day since 1991 for the state's Public Transit Assistance Fund, was doubled in Allegheny County only, with the extra $2 earmarked for the county treasury.

The cash fare for Port Authority bus, trolley and incline rides went up a quarter, to $2 for a one-way, Zone 1 trip, starting at 12:01 a.m. Other fare hikes proposed a year ago and approved in November went into effect as well.

And about 2,000 bars, clubs and restaurants with liquor licenses were to begin collecting a bitterly contested 10 percent tax on alcoholic beverages including six-packs of take-out beer.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the car rental and drink levies are expected to generate $30 million a year, money to subsidize the Port Authority in lieu of county property taxes that have been used since 1964, when the transit system began operating as a quasi-government entity.

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