$100 surcharge on some traffic tickets latest roadblock for Pa. transportation funding plan

     The Senate's plan to fund infrastructure includes tacking a $100 surcharge onto certain traffic violations, including speeding tickets (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo, file)

    The Senate's plan to fund infrastructure includes tacking a $100 surcharge onto certain traffic violations, including speeding tickets (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo, file)

    A transportation funding bill is still stuck in park in Pennsylvania. As negotiations continue, the fate of one of its more controversial mechanisms for generating revenue is still unsettled.

    The Senate’s plan to fund infrastructure includes tacking a $100 surcharge onto certain traffic violations, including speeding tickets. Most of the money would go toward mass transit.

    Senate members project the surcharge would raise as much as $75 million in the first year of implementation.

    But many House lawmakers balked, and Republican Speaker Sam Smith said that odds are the surcharge won’t make it into any final plan.

    “We don’t agree with their revenue estimate, if you will, on that, so it kind of melts away the ice on that,” Smith said Monday.

    Flatly ignoring revenue projections is only possible because some police officers said they’d stop writing speeding tickets if the surcharge made it into law.

    But Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said if the surcharge plan is spiked, it will have to be replaced with something else to ensure enough money for mass transit.

    “If the House does not feel that the $100 dollar is appropriate, we’re open to other types of revenue streams that replace that,” Costa said. “But that’s an important component, because that goes directly to the heart of the transit funding, which we believe is essentially — is very essential.”

    Smith, R-Jefferson, said he doesn’t think it will be hard to remove the proposed surcharge from a transportation plan.

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