Pennsylvania bill calls for quickened shifting of funds to roads
August 3, 2021
Pursuit can be picked up again this fall at the Pennsylvania statehouse to accelerate the gradual shift of money from state troopers to roads.
For years, money from the state’s motor license fund was transferred for Pennsylvania State Police operations. The amount reached three-quarters of a billion dollars by the 2016 budget year, according to state figures.
As a result, money that was intended for essential road and bridge work was instead being used to cover trooper expenses.
A 2016 Pennsylvania law applied the brakes on the transfers. Instead, a process was implemented to gradually reduce the amount of money routed from Pennsylvania roads and bridges to the state police.
Specifically, funding from the motor license fund to troopers was capped at $800 million with a schedule to decrease that amount to $500 million over the next decade.
Timeframe of reduced diversions could be sped up
The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously in June to advance a bill to speed up the timeframe for reducing the diversions.
Sponsored by Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, SB242 would tap the state’s general fund to cover the difference.
“This bill simply accelerates the transition we began in 2016 to bring the state police out of the motor license fund and into the general fund budget where they belong,” Pittman said during a committee hearing on the bill.
If enacted, SB242 would provide an additional $100 million in the next fiscal year for the state’s highway and bridge network, and accelerate that through fiscal year 2027-2028.
Pittman added that the change would bring the $500 million goal set by the Transportation Funding Reform Commission to be the proper number to fund the state police through the motor license fund.
“I believe now is the time to accelerate the shift to funding the state police through the general fund and to use the (motor license fund) for its intended purpose – to improve the condition and safety of our highways and bridges,” Pittman stated.
Once the Legislature reconvenes in September, the Senate Appropriations Committee can decide whether to advance the bill to the full Senate for consideration. If approved there, SB242 would move to the House. LL
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