More about the additional $5 vehicle registration fee

If you drive a car that's registered in Erie County, it may soon cost you more to keep that car on the road.  Tonight, we look closer at a new ordinance that is being considered by County Council.

Numerous counties across the state of Pennsylvania are already on board for this new program and Erie County is next in line.  The next time you register your car, you may be seeing an additional $5 fee, per vehicle, per year. 

The new ordinance is possible through Act 89 by the state, where each county is allowed to enact a $5 fee on vehicle registration.  The collected funds would go right back to the county, then be distributed to municipalities for infrastructure projects related to transportation.

Christopher Friday, Metropolitan Planning Organization Secretary says, "We're seeing a large need. If we can get a little shot in the arm of revenue, I think it'll help everyone."  As far as determining how these county-held funds would be distributed to the municipalities, Friday tells us, "We use a... process based on certain criteria and once we prioritize those out, we'll kinda start at the top of our list and work our way down".

With roughly 225,000 registered vehicles in Erie County, that would generate around $1.2 million for the area.  "With that," Friday tells us, "PennDOT will match that $1.2 million this year with us... so the first year, we'll see over $2 million in-streamed to the municipalities."

Friday says the ordinance is well-received in the municipalities.  Harborcreek Township announcing their support of the new fee in a letter to City Council.  Harborcreek Township Supervisor, Tim May, says, "One of the main reasons is we have at least six bridges that could possibly be impacted by this fee."

It seems that Erie County residents feel indifferent.  Richard Wright saying, "Hey, you have to roll with the punches. $5 won't break anybody."

Len Winkler says, "If it made the roads better and improved them... I wouldn't have a problem with it."

If passed by County Council, the fee could be enacted as soon as this coming March.  Those who are exempt from paying a vehicle registration fee will also be exempt from this $5 fee.


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