PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 20

May 15, 2017

PDSITELOGO2Pa. boroughs, townships divided over Wolf’s proposed state police fee

Two local government organizations appear divided over Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to impose a $25-per-person fee on municipalities that rely solely on state police for protection.

Elam Herr, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, said his members are wary of the fee because they fear it will eventually increase. Ed Troxell, a top lobbyist for the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said his members recently approved a resolution supporting a per-person user fee for municipalities with a population of more than 4,000.

Should PennDOT pay for most state police costs?

We’ve got to solve the Pennsylvania state police funding problem…so said one state representative Friday.  Right now, the state police budget is $1.2 billion and most of that comes from state transportation funds.

State house member Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108th, Sunbury) says this is a big problem, “We need to come to some consensus as to how we will fund the State Police, because we are taking money out of the motor license fund right now which is in the future going to hinder future road projects and maintenance.”

Municipalities to receive funds for upgrading traffic signals

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced that 94 municipalities across the state will receive $33 million to support the costs of upgrading traffic signals under PennDOT’s “Green Light-Go” program.

The reimbursement grant awards can be used on existing traffic signals to install LED technology, upgrade traffic signals and perform operations such as retiming, developing special event plans and monitoring traffic signals.

Raising the gas tax is no longer taboo in many states

While raising the gas tax is still a politically treacherous idea in Washington, lawmakers in state capitals are increasingly coming around to it. Already this year, governors in California, Indiana and Tennessee signed laws to raise fuel taxes, meaning a total of 22 states have passed laws imposing higher gas taxes in the past five years. Chances are also good that the list will grow even longer this year.

As gas tax revenues decline, fees on fuel-efficient cars pop up

Lawmakers in California, home to almost half of the nation’s electric vehicles, decided this year to impose an annual fee on the owners of plug-in electric cars beginning in 2020.

Meanwhile, Maine is considering an annual fee on both plug-in electric vehicles and more popular hybrids, which run on both gasoline and electricity and recharge as they go. Both kinds of vehicles still make up a tiny share of cars on the road, but supporters of the idea are hopeful that revenue will rise as they become more popular.

To raise gas tax, South Carolina lawmakers override governor

A proposal to raise the S.C. gas tax will become law after the Legislature Wednesday overrode Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto.

The proposal, which takes effect July 1, will raise the state’s gas tax by two cents a year for six years, a total of 12 cents. The bill also will hike other driving fees to raise money to repair the state’s crumbling roads.

Commissioners approve $5 per vehicle registration fee in Centre County

The Centre County Commissioners Tuesday approved an ordinance that will add a $5 registration fee on all vehicles registered in the county, with few exceptions.

The $600,000 in revenue, plus matching funds from PennDOT, would help fund road construction and transportation projects in Centre County.

Driverless cars and the disruptions they will bring

However intriguing driverless cars may be conceptually, their integration into our transportation system will demand well-informed and insightful planning. In response to this challenge, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis last year launched its 3 Revolutions Policy Initiative to explore the impacts and synergies of vehicle automation along with two other disruptive technologies — electrification and vehicle sharing.


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