Committee concludes PA should restore more than $220 million for highway work

March 24, 2017

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee has released the long-awaited report determining the appropriate and justifiable amount of Motor License Fund revenue that can be used to fund State Police operations.

PAWIREFRAMEPOLICEUsing the 2015-16 fiscal year as a benchmark, the report said the appropriate amount that year would have been $532.8 million, not the $755 million that was actually diverted. In the current fiscal year, $802 million was diverted, but Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for next year would reduce that amount by $63 million.

Legislation passed last year mandates that the diverted amount be reduced in each of the next 10 years until it reaches the appropriate level. It is important to note that the Commonwealth has the ability to revise that mandate by enacting new legislation.

At issue was whether the Commonwealth had been diverting more than permitted by the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires that revenue from fuel taxes and license and registration fees be used strictly for highway purposes. The report concluded that more than $220 million that is being diverted should not be, enough to resurface more than 1,100 lane miles of roadway, or to design, replace and maintain 138 bridges for the next 25 years.

The $532.8 figure results from the committee’s conclusion that State Police expend 47 percent of the agency’s resources for activities related to highway safety.

While the report answers an important question, the method by which the Commonwealth would restore the Motor License Fund resources to the proper level remains unresolved. Governor Wolf has proposed collecting a fee of $25 per resident from municipalities that rely on full-time State Police coverage rather than a local or regional police force, and several legislators also have offered proposals.

To view the full report, click HERE.  To view the report highlights, click HERE.


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