Transportation funding bill heads to Corbett’s desk

The transportation funding bill is now on Governor Tom Corbett's desk.

The bill passed the Senate Wednesday afternoon 43-7. The House gave its stamp of approval Thursday with a vote of 113-85.

Corbett said he is thrilled that the transportation funding bill passed.

“I'd like to welcome you and Pennsylvania to a new era…to a resurgent and re-energized Pennsylvania,” Corbett said.

gThe bill will raise an additional $2.4 billion to fund mass transit systems and improve roadways. For example, there are plans to add a third lane to I-81 between Rt. 581 and Rt. 114. There are also plans to make I-83 six lanes.

The measure will also fund repairs for structurally deficient roads and bridges.

“This is a unique bill that really was aimed at the safety and the growth of this Commonwealth,” said Corbett.

The measure will raise some PennDOT fees and services. The cost of vanity plates will increase from $20 to $76. Special funds plates will go from $35 to $54. Accident reports will go from $5 to $22. Title certificates will increase from $22.50 to $50. The cost of ID cards will go from $5 to $19, plus the cost of the photo.

Fines for traffic violations will also increase. If you're caught going one to six miles per hour over the speed limit, the fine will increase from $30 to $45. The fine for 11 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit used to be $40. It will now be $60. The fine for going 16 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit will go from $50 to $75.

The bill also eliminates the state gas tax, but increases taxes on oil companies, which will likely lead to higher prices at the pump. Some estimates said that will cost 28 cents more per gallon. But PennDOT Secretary, Barry Schoch, said no one can guess the cost.

“We don't know what the impact's gonna be at the pump. We've said that over and over again. We don't know today how much they're asking. All we know is we just eliminated today $.12.5 cents at the pump and after that it'll be the oil company franchise tax. What happens in January? How much does the price of gas bounce around on a weekly basis? We won't know,” Schoch said.

“Nobody wants to pay more than they have to but we need to pay our fair share and protect everyone,” said State Representative Sue Helm, a Republican who represents Dauphin County.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, who fought against the bill, said state government gets enough in taxes, and lawmakers should find money for roads and bridges elsewhere. He said Midstaters should fight back and call on the governor to veto the plan.

“I think taxpayers should put the heat on the governor to say you signed a pledge saying you wouldn't increase taxes. A $2 billion tax increase is a violation of that pledge and a broken promise to the people of Pennsylvania,” Metcalfe said.

Corbett said he will sign the bill into law sometime next week.

For more information on the transportation funding bill, visit http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/pdNews.nsf/PressOfficeHome?OpenFrameset&frame=main&src=$$ViewTemplate%20for%20CurrentYear?OpenForm or http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2013&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=1060&pn=2697.

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