More than $1 billion in infrastructure projects would be undertaken in the York area if a state Senate bill is approved as is, but the House of Representatives has a different vision for the bill.
Senate Bill 1 earlier this month passed the Senate with the support of all York County senators and was co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Alloway, R-York/Adams/Franklin, Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, Pat Vance, R-York/Cumberland; and Rob Teplitz, D-York/Dauphin.
The bill calls for uncapping the state's fuel tax and increasing some fees and fines to offset the cost of repairing and replacing the state's aging infrastructure. Among the proposals is a $100 surcharge on traffic fines -- such as speeding and running stop signs -- to pay for road and bridge improvements.
Projects to be funded include a $41 million plan for improvements to Interstate 83, Exit 4 in Shrewsbury and Hopewell Township.
But the House Transportation Committee, of which Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, is a member, is expected to introduce amendments to reduce the amount of money spent on improvements -- and thus include fewer improvements.
The committee postponed a vote until Tuesday.
Needed work: Teplitz said the Senate bill addresses the most important infrastructure needs and would create jobs, allocating about $1 billion in improvements in the portions of Dauphin and York counties included in his district.
It includes more than $500 million on various parts of the Capital Beltway to add lanes, repave, and repair or replace bridges, he said.
Teplitz has said he didn't like the idea of raising money using fines, but he didn't see an
alternative means of raising the necessary funds.
A House amendment could remove the higher fines, reducing the scope of the bill to spend less money. No list of projects has been released to show the projects that would be cut.
The Transportation Committee's proposal cuts support for mass transit and adds prevailing wage requirements, "so they're really moving it in the wrong direction," Teplitz said. "They're basically cutting it down. I don't think we should do less than Senate Bill 1."
Prevailing wage: While Teplitz said it doesn't make sense to pass a bill that reduces the scope of improvements, Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, has said he's not going to vote for any transportation bill that doesn't reform the prevailing wage requirements.
Under prevailing wage law, contractors are paid more for government jobs than private jobs. A House amendment is also expected to add some prevailing wage reform.
Miller has said the bill is unlikely to pass as is in the House, and the $100 surcharge on moving violations is probably something that will not remain in the bill.
People can't afford it, he said.
Miller said he would also like to see prevailing wage reform, or at least an opt-out option, included in the transportation legislation.
He wouldn't vote "no" just because the $100 surcharge was still in the bill, and he wouldn't vote "no" if it doesn't include some prevailing wage circumvention, he said. But those two issues combined make it a hard sell, he said.
What the bill does
Under SB 1, proposed by Montgomery County Republican Sen. John Rafferty:
--- Fines for the catch-all "failure to obey traffic control device" violation would grow from $25 to a sliding scale of $100 to $300.
--- The cap would be further lifted on the state's gas tax.
--- Fees for driver's licenses and vehicle registration would increase, with the current annual vehicle registration replaced with two-year registration.
--- Registration stickers would be eliminated, saving money and processing for the Department of Transportation. Driver's licenses would be renewed every six years instead of four, and fees would be updated and indexed to inflation.
Projects listed in the bill include:
--- $41 million for improvements to Interstate 83, Exit 4 in Shrewsbury and Hopewell Township,
--- $1.5 million for bridge replacement on State Route 3001 (George Street) over Tyler Run in Spring Garden Township,
--- $750,000 for bridge replacement on State Route 3056 (Tyler Run Road) over Tyler Run in York Township,
--- $500,000 for bridge replacement on State Route 2002 (Springwood Road) over Tributary to Mill Creek in York Township, and
--- $750,000 for bridge replacement on US 15 over a Tributary to Yellow Breeches Creek in Carroll Township.
For a map detailing the numerous improvements called for under the plans, visit www.DOTDecade.pa.gov.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.