Prepare for increase in PennDOT's vehicle fees
Mike Heneroty and his father made sure to transfer a vehicle title before fees for the paperwork more than double this week.
“We knew the fees were going up April 1, so we came down to avoid paying that extra. It got us to act a little sooner,” Heneroty, 61, of O'Hara said Friday as he left AAA offices in East Liberty.
“I'm sure (the state) does need it, but I don't like the way it's being done,” said his father, Jack Heneroty, 85, also of O'Hara.
PennDOT's fees for everything from obtaining a duplicate driver's license to getting a title are scheduled to rise as part of the state's newly passed $2.3 billion transportation bill. The fees, along with an increase in the wholesale gasoline tax, will help fund mass transit and repairs to ailing bridges and roads.
The increases angered some drivers. Others consider it a necessary evil.
“I don't like it. The government has other ways to get money,” said Calvin Catlin, 58, of the North Side, who got a handicapped tag.
“I've been driving the streets in Pittsburgh for a long time. They're lousy,” said Lou Jannetto, 78, of O'Hara, who transferred a title. “I don't like the fees, but I don't like the roads, either. As long as they use the money for what they're supposed to use it for, then (OK).”
A sampling of the increases include:
• Identification card: $13.50 to $27.50.
• Duplicate driver's licenses: $13.50 to $27.50.
• Certificates of title: $22.50 to $50.
Other fees, including those connected to license plates, are scheduled to rise July 1. Costs for personal vanity plates will go from $20 to $76, and inspection stickers will rise from $2 to $5. Motor home drivers will feel the pinch when registration rates climb for Class 1 motor homes from $45 to $65.
Critics of the fee increases are not limited to members of the general public. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, said they are unfair for the average Pennsylvanian. He supports raising money for transportation through a tax on Marcellus shale drilling.
“We could have done this a different way,” DeLuca said. “We're taking disposable money away from people. You nickel-and-dime people, those nickels and dimes add up.”
PennDOT spokesman RichardKirkpatrick defended the transportation law as an investment.
“It's important to note that Act 89 represents an investment in Pennsylvania's future — increasing public safety, driving commerce, creating jobs and providing reliable funding for our transportation needs without leaving the bill to our future generations,” Kirkpatrick said.
A number of industry groups supported funding for roads and bridges, including the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association. Jim Runk, the association's president, said registration fees for commercial vehicles will rise 33 percent over four years.
“There probably will be higher costs for goods. But whether that equates to a higher cost for a box of Wheaties, that has yet to be determined. Many products are carried nationwide,” Runk said.
Bobby Kerlik is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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