State Police Phase-Down Bill Advances
This week, the House Transportation Committee unanimously approved House Bill 1162, which will implement Governor Shapiro’s plan to reduce the funding for State Police operations from the Motor License Fund (MLF) by $100 million per year for the next five years. Go here for our past story about Governor Shapiro’s plan.
The bill is now on the voting calendar for the full House to consider when it returns on June 5. The Senate already passed Senate Bill 121, which is a similar approach to reducing the monies from the MLF for State Police operations by dropping it initially by $250 million and then a $50 annual reduction until it gets to zero.
With both bills receiving approval, we expect this will be resolved during budget negotiations in June.
Fern Hollow Fallout
The Fern Hollow Bridge is now reopened to the public. But, the causes of the collapse have reverberated across the country. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended last week in a press release (go here to read) that federal and state authorities review inspection reports and identify incomplete follow-up actions that need to be resolved for bridges made of uncoated weathering steel, citing the investigation of the Fern Hollow bridge collapse.
According to the NTSB press release, “Investigators found corrosion, deterioration, and section loss on all four of the Fern Hollow bridge’s legs due to the continual accumulation of water and debris. Some of the section loss was so severe; it resulted in holes.” The report also said, “Investigators found that prior inspections of the Fern Hollow bridge performed on behalf of the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) identified problems with drainage, but maintenance was not regularly performed to resolve the issue. NTSB investigators found other Pennsylvania bridges with similar issues with drainage, debris accumulation and corrosion.”
The NTSB still has to finalize its investigation, but these early findings are being revealed now due to the seriousness of its earlier analysis.
Work on Camera Bill Continues
Both the House and Senate are working on legislation to remove the sunset on PA’s Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program, set to expire at the end of this year. APC is working with House and Senate staff on legislation allowing this successful program to remain in law and in place in perpetuity. We expect legislation to be formally introduced when the General Assembly returns to session in June.
The Senate and House adjourned for the Memorial Day holiday and plan to return on Monday, June 5, for three days of voting session that week.