The state Senate on Wednesday passed a transportation bill that would phase out the cap on the oil company franchise tax, add surcharges to the costs of paying for traffic violations, and raise fees for and change the structures of drivers licenses and vehicle registrations.
The measure passed by a vote of 45-to-5, and was sent to the state House where it faces an uncertain future.
The $2.5 billion plan is about $700,000 costlier than Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal, but would provide more money for Pennsylvania’s roads, bridges and mass transit.
Corbett’s $1.8 billion proposal would have relied on increasing the wholesale gas tax. The Senate plan would phase out the franchise tax over a three-year period, temporarily reduce the flat tax on gasoline paid at the pump, impose $100 surcharges on drivers fined for traffic violations, and increase fines for violations for failing to obey traffic control devices. It would increase drivers license and vehicle registration fees, while changing drivers license terms from four to six years, and vehicle registration periods from one year to two years.
The plan would also end after eight years the annual transfer of money from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and replace the money with funds from a vehicle sales tax, beginning in 2021.