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Pennsylvania

Senate Republican leader proposes higher motorists? fees

| Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011

HARRISBURG — A Republican state Senate leader today announced he will file legislation to raise motorists' fees to pay for repairs to the state's structurally deficient bridges and to maintain and improve 80,000 miles of highways.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre County, said his bill will be based on GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's transportation funding advisory report the panel approved in August. Corbett hasn't said which portions of the report he supports.

Corman said he did not have the governor's blessing on moving forward with the report, which would lift the state's wholesale cap on gasoline taxes and raise registration and license fees. Corman said he was trying to "get the conversation out in the forefront."

His capitol news conference comes a day after a Washington group seeking more transportation revenue said Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges among the largest 102 metropolitan areas.

To avoid "sticker shock," the higher fees would be phased in over five years, Corman said. It would cost the average motorist 70 cents more per week initially and increase to $2.50 per week in five years, he said.

"To my knowledge, no one has disputed we have a problem," said Corman.

"The only reason not to do it is political fear and that is unacceptable," he added.

Corbett was elected in November on a pledge of not raising taxes.

The governor has said he was also looking at revenue streams not included in the report.

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