State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Speeding ticket surcharge may be on chopping block

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jun 12, 2013 6:23 PM
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State lawmakers may take issue with making speeding tickets cost any more than they already do.

A proposal to tack a $100 surcharge on moving violations was the subject of questions at a Wednesday House Transportation Committee hearing on the $2.5 billion transportation funding proposal.

The revenue generated from the surcharge would be slated for mass transit, and with a number of rural House lawmakers already balking at funding mass transit systems, the proposal might be one of the least popular items in a bill full of unpalatable revenue generators.

"Obviously we have a large urban delegation within my caucus," said Rep. Mike McGeehan (D-Philadelphia), "and it's a primary concern. I know that's been related to you directly and to the governor directly."

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said nixing the surcharge could mean renegotiating the entire web of proposals in the larger bill.

"If it gets removed, or if it gets cut back in scope or size, then there's a consequence, just like anything else," Schoch said. "If you cut back the fees, then there's a consequence to highways funding. If you cut back the liquid fuels part, there's a consequence to us and to local government."

The surcharge piece of the larger transportation bill would raise $100 million - about one-fifth of the total $510 million generated for mass transit under the plan.

"If that becomes something that appears to be up for discussion, we're going to have to talk about that," Schoch added. "If we want to get to that number for public transportation, how do you replace it?"

Corbett said Monday the $2.5 billion proposal approved by the state Senate would likely need to be scaled back before getting to his desk. He himself proposed a $1.8 billion plan to fund repairs and upgrades to roads, bridges, ports, and mass transit.

But on Wednesday, Schoch told one reporter the governor "is willing to go as high" as the Senate's final spending figure, and that "he's never said he isn't."

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