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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 1, 2019 01:57 PM
From: Senator Joe Pittman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reducing Transfers from Motor License Fund to the State Police

I am introducing legislation to further reduce transfers occurring from the Motor License Fund (MLF) to fund operations of our State Police. As part of the FY 2016-17 Budget, funding from the MLF to the state police was capped at $801 million with a schedule to decrease that amount over a 10-year period to $500 million.
A 2016 Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) report determined the true cost to the state police related to highway safety (i.e. patrolling roads, preventing and responding to accidents, enforcing traffic violations etc.) took up 47 percent of their efforts. The LBFC calculated this and other factors, estimating the cost State Police dedicated to highway safety to be about $500 million per year. Subsequently, the plan to cap and gradually scale back funding above that threshold was put into place. While eight years are left in the current plan, my legislation would further reduce that timeframe to four years.

The PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent announcement of across-the-board cuts to projects planned by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) and PennDOT Districts across the state will leave many Transportation Improvement Projects (TIPs) in limbo. Given these reports, I believe it is important we accelerate the phase out to direct MLF proceeds to their intended use.

When Act 89 of 2013 was enacted, Pennsylvanians were promised a significant investment would be made to improve our deteriorating roads and bridges. We need to continue to fulfill that promise and ensure tax dollars earmarked to maintain and improve our roadway system are available for their intended purpose. My proposed legislation will move us in that direction more expeditiously.

As a result of the cap on State Police spending from the MLF, the General Fund will continue to absorb additional costs for law enforcement services. As our revenue outlook improves, I believe the timing is right to accelerate the plan to shift this funding to the General Fund and use the MLF to support our highways and bridges.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation so we can put Pennsylvania back on track to continue to meet our transportation needs. If you have any questions, please contact Anne Achenbach (7-4404; aachenbach@pasen.gov) or Carlton Logue (7-3521; clogue@pasen.gov).

Introduced as SB858