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Transportation funding reform expected to move over weekend

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With amendments to the transportation funding reform bill moving out of committee Thursday, it's expected the weekend could bring Senate Bill 1 closer to passage in the state legislature, according to Rep. Dick Hess' office.

The changes yesterday removed proposed driver’s license and auto registration fee increases, as well as the $100 surcharge on traffic violations from the bill, according to Hess, chairman of the transportation committee in the House of Representatives.

The changes would add nearly $1.3 billion to transportation funding by the third year and nearly $2 billion by the fifth year, according to an analysis from Hess’ office.

“My goal was to strike the ‘sweet spot’ between Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan and the Senate version, and gain bipartisan support. We did that today. This is a giant step in the right direction,” Hess said in a statement.

The amendment also:

  • Phases in the uncapping of the Oil Company Franchise Tax over five years, for a total of $1.8 billion in additional funding.
  • Eliminates temporary fuel tax reduction at the pump.
  • Increases “failure to obey traffic control device” fines by $75.
  • Immediately reduces the Turnpike Commission’s obligation to PennDOT by $200 million, which it can put toward debt payments, while also requiring the turnpike to undergo reform audits.
  • Allows counties the option of collecting a $5 fee on vehicle registrations for a new local use fund.
  • Establishes an alternative fuels taxing structure for $4.2 million annually to transportation.

For the full list of changes to the bill, click here.

For a complete rundown of additional transportation funding over the five years, click here.

The amended bill could face second consideration in the House tomorrow, consider any additional amendments from members and then face third consideration by Sunday, said Raymond Smith, a spokesman for Hess.

“Anything could happen. We’re hip deep in it over here,” Smith said, referring to the legislature’s packed schedule considering bills, such as transportation funding, that are tied to the state budget. The deadline for the budget to be passed is June 30.

S.B. 1, proposed by Sen. John Rafferty, was passed June 5 by the Senate.


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