Pennsylvania bill would quicken shifting funds from police to roads

October 3, 2019

Keith Goble

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If one Pennsylvania state lawmaker gets his way, the pace of money gradually being shifted back to roads will be accelerated.

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 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 roads to the Pennsylvania 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. There remains eight years left in the current plan.

Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, has introduced a bill to expedite the timeframe for reducing the revenue diversions. The state’s general fund is being tapped to cover the difference.

“I believe the timing is now right to accelerate the shift to funding the Pennsylvania State Police through the general fund and use the (motor license fund) for its intended purpose,” Pittman said in released remarks.

SB858 calls for the annual amount to transfer to be doubled from 4% to 8%. The change would get the state to the $500 million threshold by 2023.

“The State Police definitely provide an essential role in promoting highway safety, but the ultimate way to improve highway safety is to rebuild our deteriorating highways and bridges,” Pittman said.

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.