While the recent history of PA budget surprises is largely negative, we’re pleased to share the news that Governor Wolf has proposed reducing the State Police share of the Motor License Fund in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
If accepted by the General Assembly – and that is not a given – it would free an additional $63 million for highway work and reduce the fund’s support for State Police operations to $739 million. As you may recall, the General Assembly capped the diverted amount last year at $802 million and expressed its intent to gradually begin reducing the subsidy.
Of course, the question had always been how the reduction would be recovered. In this case, a fee of $25 per person would be levied on residents who live in municipalities that rely on state police instead of local or regional law enforcement. At present, State Police are subsidized from the General Fund as well as from the Motor License Fund.
While the governor certainly deserves credit for proposing a solution to this problem, our outreach efforts have helped keep this issue on the public policy radar. Thank you for all you have done to assist, and please let your local legislators know you support this idea.
The proposal was part of a $32.3 billion budget that the governor says does not call for any broad-based tax increases and represents approximately $2 billion in savings and cuts. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
Transportation Issue Update
- As Turnpike officials continue to sort out the cause of the cracked beam on the Delaware River bridge, it appears the span will be closed for at least two more months.
- The New York Times postulated that I-70 and I-76 aren’t likely to ever be directly connected at Breezewood because local officials are protective of commercial jobs and businesses.
- An NPR story predicts that congressional inertia could derail efforts to address national infrastructure needs, while Governing Magazine suggests that more states may turn to tolling.
- Pittsburgh travelers will soon benefit from wireless coverage in the Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill and Liberty tunnels. PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said it will improve safety and eliminate connectivity issues.
- Car & Driver magazine is the latest to take note of Pennsylvania’s participation in a multi-state consortium to boost development of autonomous vehicles.