Sturla introduces plan to better meet transportation, state police funding needs

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Mike Sturla has introduced a bill that would increase funds available for transportation projects and ensure adequate, reliable funding for the Pennsylvania State Police.

House Bill 709 would establish the State Police Municipal Patrol Services Act, which would establish a fee structure for municipalities to pay for the routine state police patrol services that some are currently receiving for free and restore an estimated $450 million to the Motor License Fund.  

A yearly fee of $156 would be assessed annually per capita and would be billed to municipalities who fully rely on state police coverage. Municipalities with part-time local police and part-time state police coverage would be assessed a discounted rate of $52 per capita annually. Municipalities that employ a full-time local police force would not be charged a fee.

“Each year, nearly $750 million, or about 30 percent of the total funds available for roads and bridges, is transferred from the Motor License Fund to pay for the Pennsylvania State Police instead. At a time when our state is in drastic need of funds to repair our aging infrastructure, we need to spend every dollar effectively,” Sturla said. “Sacrificing vital transportation dollars while giving away free policing services doesn’t make sense.”

“About 74 percent of the state’s population pays for full-time local police coverage, and 6 percent is paying for part-time coverage through local tax efforts, while 20 percent of the population is getting 100 percent of their patrol coverage solely from the state police with no accompanying local costs. Everyone should be paying their fair share for coverage. This will free up money that should be used to keep our roads and bridges safe.”

Sturla’s proposal would free up transportation funding and provide more than $2 million in additional road projects annually in every legislative district.

Sturla’s bill would also establish a $20 million fund for the Pennsylvania State Police to use for new cadet training. Another $20 million fund created under the bill would help pay for the establishment of new regional police departments.  

“This is not about state police versus transportation. I want to make sure the state police have the resources they need and guarantee that funding is available for transportation and infrastructure needs,” Sturla explained.