Pennsylvania lawmakers may take issue with making speeding tickets cost any more than they already do.
A proposal to tack a $100 surcharge on moving violations was the subject of questions at a House Transportation Committee hearing on the $2.5 billion transportation funding proposal.
The revenue generated from the surcharge would be slated for mass transit, and with a number of rural House lawmakers already balking at funding mass transit systems, the proposal might be one of the least popular items in a bill full of unpalatable revenue generators.
“Obviously we have a large urban delegation within my caucus,” said Rep. Mike McGeehan, D-Philadelphia. “And it’s a primary concern. I know that’s been related to you directly and to the governor directly.”
John Bowman with the National Motorists Association says groups such as his prefer to see a gas tax that corresponds to how much drivers use the roads.
“Tacking an extra hundred-dollar surcharge to a moving violation really has nothing to do with promoting public safety and that’s really what traffic enforcement should be about,” he said.
Nevertheless, with lawmakers reluctant to raise taxes, he sees momentum in other states, including Florida, moving in the direction of higher fines and fees.
PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said nixing the surcharge could mean renegotiating the entire web of proposals in the larger bill.
“If it gets removed, or if it gets cut back in scope or size, then there’s a consequence, just like anything else,” Schoch said. “If you cut back the fees, then there’s a consequence to highway funding. If you cut back the liquid fuels part, there’s a consequence to us and to local government.”
The surcharge piece of the larger transportation bill would raise $100 million – about one-fifth of the total $510 million generated for mass transit under the plan.
“If that becomes something that appears to be up for discussion, we’re going to have to talk about that,” Schoch added. “If we want to get to that number for public transportation, how do you replace it?”
Corbett said Monday the $2.5 billion proposal approved by the state Senate would likely need to be scaled back before getting to his desk. He himself proposed a $1.8 billion plan to fund repairs and upgrades to roads, bridges, ports, and mass transit.
But on Wednesday, Schoch said the governor “is willing to go as high” as the Senate’s final spending figure, and that “he’s never said he isn’t.”