PennDOT, PA police clash over infrastructure funds
- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania state police could soon be at war over fuel tax revenue and motorist fees that both agencies say are necessary to their budgets, the Associated Press reported.
- In 2013, an increase in taxes and fees was meant to ensure enough money in the transportation budget for work on roads and bridges. However, the state police is tapping into that fund to support two-thirds of its budget, causing concerns that there soon won't be enough money to perform even the simplest of repairs.
- Officials under Gov. Tom Wolf said they don't believe the use of the highway money for police departments is unconstitutional. Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards said she aims to locate a new source of funds to help solve the problem.
"If this keeps going, we're going to have trouble fixing potholes, let alone bridges," House Transportation Committee Chairman John Taylor told the AP. The state police already uses $500 million a year in highway funds, and PennDOT projects the agency will need another $400 million per year after the next decade.
Pennsylvania is not the only state stretched thin in highway funding. California has almost 225 transportation projects on the verge of being scuttled because low oil prices have resulted in a massive loss in gas tax revenue, a funding source for the highway budget, to the tune of $1.1 billion.
New Jersey is also in trouble with its transportation budget is concerned. State officials have spent all available money in the fund and are considering an increase in the gas tax to generate more revenue.