HARRISBURG—Starting next week, the Senate Transportation Committee will hold public hearings to discuss transportation funding in Pennsylvania. The goal is to come up with a way to raise billions of dollars of new money to fix the state's infrastructure.
There are a bunch of changes that could be coming to the way you drive. The state is considering raising some fees like registration and licensing fees. Lawmakers are also thinking of changing or phasing out the gas tax. However, all of these changes are very much up in the air as lawmakers wait for some direction from the Governor.
In August, the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission recommends ways to raise over $2.5 billion in new revenue to fix the state's crumbling roads and bridges. The recommendations, includes increasing driver and registration fees, taking the cap off of the wholesale gas tax, streamlining some of PennDOT's operations and even possibly tolling more Pennsylvania roads. Those ideas could cost drivers an estimated $132 more a year.
Pennsylvania holds the distinction of having the most structurally deficient bridges in the country. State leaders realize something needs to be done and be done quickly.
If the plan is enacted, drivers would only have to renew their license every eight years instead of four. The cost would rise from $29.50 to $69. Registration fees would be every other year instead of yearly. That price would rise from $36 a year to $98 every two years. It would be the first changes to the fee structure since 1997.
The big question right now is which of these recommendations does the Governor support. Governor Tom Corbett has not come out in favor of any of the proposals. Many legislators say they are walking a fine line with this funding because no one wants to support a plan that the Governor won't sign.