Pennsylvania Senate bill speeds up fund shift from state police to roads
November 5, 2019
A bill has taken a step forward at the Pennsylvania statehouse to accelerate the gradual shifting of money back to roads from funding the state police.
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 state police.
Specifically, funding from the motor license fund to the state police 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.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to expedite the timeframe for reducing the diversions to the state police. The bill from Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, would tap the state’s general fund to cover the difference.
“I believe the timing is now right to accelerate the shift to funding the state police through the general fund and use the (motor license fund) for its intended purpose,” Pittman said in previous 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 awaits clearance from the Senate Appropriations Committee before it heads to the full Senate.
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In September, Pennsylvania lawmakers proposed adding the state to the list of states to adopt a federal weight exemption for battery-powered electric tractor-trailers.