Committee moves $2 billion transportation package to full House for vote |

Committee moves $2 billion transportation package to full House for vote

Tom Fontaine

A $2 billion transportation funding package shifted out of neutral on Thursday and moved from the state House Transportation Committee to the full chamber for consideration.

“Hopefully we can try to amend this on the House floor to add more money,” said Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg.

The package is smaller and increases funding more slowly than one the Senate passed this month, which was projected to generate $2.5 billion annually for transportation within three years.

House committee amendments — approved in a 16-9 vote — would generate $2 billion a year within five years.

“You could go a lot farther and get a lot more money,” said Transportation Chairman Dick Hess, R-Bedford. “We tried to look at it, too, from a consumer standpoint.”

The House plan eliminates a proposed $100 surcharge on traffic tickets and hikes in registration and driver’s license fees in the Senate plan.

The House would impose a $75 fine for “failure to obey traffic control devices,” a catch-all offense that does not add points to a driver’s record.

The offense now carries a $25 fine. The Senate bill proposed raising it $100 to $300.

The House plan would make transit agencies gradually come up with more local money to support operations and capital projects.

Local governments would have more ways to get the money: The plan would allow them to raise real estate transfer taxes up to 0.5 percent; earned income taxes up to 0.2 percent; and sales and use taxes up to 0.25 percent. It would let counties impose $5 vehicle registration fees for local transportation projects.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s annual payments to PennDOT would drop from $450 million to $250 million.

The House plan relies heavily on uncapping the oil company franchise tax that wholesalers pay. The Senate plan would do that over three years; the House committee approved doing so in five.

House Transportation Minority Chairman Michael P. McGeehan, D-Montgomery County, said he hopes to see funding increase through deliberations in the full House.

“I would characterize this as half a step,” he said.

Tom Fontaine is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.