Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Tolling, Taxing and Ticketing to Balance Budget

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
pennsylvania governor proposes tolling taxing and ticketing to balance budget

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is struggling in his latest budget with the desire to spend more money while lacking tax revenue due to the economic recession. Nonetheless, the $28 billion budget for 2011 expends $200 million more than the previous year. Rendell yesterday testified before the state Senate Transportation Committee about how he intended to hit up motorists to make up much of that amount.

“If you did the increase in fees for inflation and the four cents at the pump — again, I think my idea is the best idea — but if you did that, you’ve got almost $100 million more,” Rendell testified. “If you did the InsureNet — that’s the plan with the cameras — the state would generate $75 million more.”

Rendell specifically asked committee members to index various registration and driving fees to inflation so that they would automatically increase every year without a vote. He also suggested the gas tax should rise by at least four cents, although he preferred to index the gas tax to inflation as well.

Lobbyist Wayne Pettigrew had testified on March 2 before the state House Transportation Committee about the InsureNet made system which would generate automated citations for motorists who may have missed an auto insurance premium by as little as a few hours.

“I’ll use myself as an example,” Pettigrew explained. “Let’s say my premium is due March 1st, today is March 2nd, I haven’t paid my premium. If I’m driving by a site as of 2:00 last night, that site is now going to know through the NLETS database that my insurance is unpaid today. So therefore, today, if I’m driving past that site, it’s going to show me as an uninsured vehicle… Most states there is no grace period for vehicle liability on insurance.”

The for-profit company would set up cameras across the state to monitor and track all passing motorists, automatically generating tickets for anyone whose information does not appear in the insurance database. The state would pay nothing.

“We provide all the equipment, all the direct costs, the whole thing,” Pettigrew said.

Rendell promoted a similar no-cost program to expand red light cameras throughout the state. Currently, automated ticketing machines are only legal in Philadelphia. The state Senate on July 3 voted 49-1 to allow cameras in second and third-class cities, generating an estimated $25 million in net profit for the state.

Rendell was upset that his plan to toll Interstate 80 was blocked, but he insisted tolling as many roads as possible through “public private partnerships” was essential to his overall plan. The governor was optimistic that this suite of taxes, fees and tolls could be enacted.

“Although I do think it’s not an easy political lift, I don’t think it’s quite as hard as everyone makes it out to be,” Rendell said.


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  • Mr. K Mr. K on Jul 22, 2010

    So much BS! philadlj does not mention that the NEW South Street Bridge is almost built, and as FleetofWheel mentions, just like the reconstruction of the Tacony Palmyra bridge (Philly to NJ) pre fab materials are being used. philadlj also states that “I remember walking on the South Street Bridge and feeling it buckle severely every time a truck drove over it; that bridge has since been demolished." The South Street Bridge is a draw bridge and there must be some lash in such a structure for obvious reasons. ihatetrees gives us some complaints about taxes, even though taxes are lower in percent of income terms since about 1950. In addition many roads are maintained with money raised by a per unit (e.g. gallon) tax on fuel. With less miles traveled, a higher overall MPG automotive fleet, and motor fuel taxes rising slower then the rate of inflation. PA has high road costs due to many factors such as many small roads going through the state including mountain areas, many bridges due to small streams etc and quite a lot of rural areas with minimal populations yet with roads that cost the same as in more built up areas. mikey, sorry about your 10% total sales tax. In many cities in the US we are close or the same. Here in Philly we pay 8%. But you get free health care dont you? My wife and I pay about $800/mo through our employer’s plans and the employers pick up a good part of the bill. I agree that the use of red light and speeding cameras is a huge pita with many places for abuse. While expired insurance is less prone to abuse I strongly oppose such plans due to the creation of a surveillance infrastructure that will inevitably grow over time. DC Bruce makes many good points. FleetofWheel confuses sales taxes based upon dollar sales and taxes such as the motor fuel tax based upon total units sold. Shaker makes some good points and observations – the more folks who ride mass transit the less clogging up my favorite roads! Budda-Boom please tell me how, exactly New Jersey is coming back from the brink? LOL drink the kool aid as your boy Christie takes over the Casino district of Atlantic City so gee, guess who awards contracts and jobs… Tolls on 80? That’s a question for another time. Write your state reps and senators Pennsylvanians!!

  • GS650G GS650G on Jul 22, 2010

    One of the two reasons he is known as Fast Eddie stems from his ability to get from Philly to Harrisburg in an hour at 80-90 MPH. I saw his caravan of police cars and SUVs pass me and joined in the fun. Nothing insulates you from a ticket like following the governor on non official business going triple digits. Eddie was a great mayor and for some reason people assumed he would be a great governor. Well, property taxes went sky high under Ed along with the budget numbers. He's good at spending money.

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  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!