Proposal for vehicle registration fee under review

Local News
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A controversial proposal for a $5 vehicle registration fee in Centre County will move forward.

Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe pitched the idea in January. He said the fee will help fund county transportation projects at a rate of about $596,000 each year.

After a county-wide municipal survey, Pipe said 12 of 19 municipalities support the ordinance to help correct 13 local structurally deficient bridges and 18 “borderline” ones.

It’s an idea that’s not popular with everyone.

“I just am very hesitant to have another layer of fees and taxes along with transportation right now,” Commissioner Steve Dershem said.

Tuesday, Pipe presented his first draft of an ordinance for staff and the solicitor to review. Commissioner Mark Higgins wants to add a caveat.

“Even though today we have 13 local bridges that have deterioration, maybe between the local money, the two million in state match, President Trump doing a trillion dollar infrastructure bill, maybe we whittle that down to four,” Higgins said. “Well, if we are down to just a handful of local bridges that now have significant issues, maybe we don’t need the five dollar fee going forward.”

Pipe said 100-percent of the money collected by PennDOT will return to Centre County and the added fee makes the county eligible for millions of dollars in state and federal funds.

County staff will review the ordinance draft for feedback this week. Pipe wants to publish a final draft for residents to review before taking any votes.

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