Last week, the Pennsylvania General Assembly took an historic step forward in capping the State Police allocation from the Motor License Fund at $802 million. They put the language into what is called a Fiscal Code, an annual bill that drives out the funding from the state budget.
The provision also includes a phase-out of four percent per year for ten years, or until it reaches a cap of $500 million or 60 percent of the annual State Police appropriation.
There is much to celebrate in this plan; it is the first time there has been language to cap the contribution to the state police, and the phase-out will help fund construction projects for many years into the future. However, a Fiscal Code can be amended every year, and we will need to remain vigilant to ensure that the phase-out remains in place and on schedule.
Good work this year, we will keep up the fight in years to come.
Transportation Issue Update
- As a result of Act 89, Pennsylvania increases funding for road and bridge projects by $1 billion.
- The budget was finalized with the enactment of nearly $1.3 billion in additional spending. To pay for the additional spending, the General Assembly enacted a tax bill that would: increase the per pack cigarette tax by $1, establish the same tax on loose leaf tobacco and e-cigarettes; increase the bank shares tax; implement the state sales tax on digital downloads; eliminate the sales tax vendor discount; apply personal income tax to lottery winnings; and use revenue from gaming expansion that will be enacted this fall.
- Transportation experts are urging elected officials nationwide to embrace the rise of driverless vehicle technology as an opportunity to improve city street grids.
- Legislation to enact work zone camera speed enforcement faces uncertainty in the Senate. As written, the legislation would establish a five-year pilot period in which any driver going 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit will receive a $100 fine with no points added to his or her record.
- Uber has struck a deal with Philadelphia to operate legally in the city during the Democratic National Convention and through the summer.
- The Regional Transportation Alliance asked 800 groups what transportation changes would make the biggest difference for their clients or members. The agency got about 340 responses and the top suggestion in each county was to improve public transit.