Senate holds hearing on PennDOT PEL study. The Senate Transportation Committee convened another hearing this week, this time on PennDOT’s Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study that is currently out for public comment. Chairman Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria) stated that the main purpose of the hearing was to provide an opportunity for senators to “go on the public record” in regards to the study. PennDOT created the PEL study after its Office of Alternative Procurement was established and according to its website, it’s a “…tool used during the planning process to identify transportation issues and develop potential solutions for corridors and large geographic areas. The PEL Study will evaluate traffic operations, safety, and engineering criteria to aid in the development of transportation solutions. Transportation solution benefits and impacts on the environment, local community, and economy will be assessed during the PEL Study. The PEL Study will identify transportation projects that FHWA and PennDOT can advance into preliminary engineering and environmental documentation.”

If you missed the hearing, you can watch a recording of it through the committee’s website.

EV Fairness Bill Passes House Committee. Last session, Rep. Mike Carroll (Democratic Chairman of the House Transportation Committee) introduced legislation that would establish a $175 annual vehicle registration fee for electric vehicles in the Commonwealth. Currently, such vehicles only pay the base registration fee but do not consume any gasoline therefore not paying anything into the Motor License Fund via Liquid Fuel Tax. The bill would have Pennsylvania join 23 other states to establish a higher registration fee for electric vehicles to provide a level of equality and pay a fair share for using the state’s roadways and highways.

The bill almost got across the finish line last session but didn’t quite make it to the Governor’s Desk. This session, Carroll introduced the legislation, House Bill 948, and it passed the House Transportation Committee by a 21-4 vote. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Upcoming schedule. This past week only featured the Senate being in session, but will now adjourn until Monday, May 24 when both the House and Senate will reconvene for active voting session.