$2.5 billion transportation plan increasing Pa. fees, fines and gas tax advances

    A transportation-funding bill that would increase vehicle fees and moving-violation fines while lifting the cap on a tax that could lead to higher gas prices has gained a key Pennsylvania Senate committee’s approval.

    The $2.5 billion expected to be raised from the measure would be used to repair the state’s aging roads and bridges, and support mass transit and ports.

    Sen. John Rafferty, chairman of the transportation committee, said the vote is a big step in the right direction.

    “We’re sending our message forth that we want to see transportation on the front burner along with the budget, along with some of the other issues facing us here,” he said. “But we cannot overlook our need to provide for the people of Pennsylvania a core function of government, providing safe transportation.”

    Rafferty, R-Montgomery, said he hopes to have his measure voted on by the full Senate in the first or second week of June.

    But that means the House would only have a few weeks to approve it if the package is going to be made law along with the state budget.

    The proposal would generate about $700 million more than an earlier one offered by Gov. Tom Corbett.

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