By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
Though details are sketchy, Mercer County Commissioner Chairman John Lechner acknowledged that Pennsylvania’s newly passed transportation funding reform allows the county to levy a $5 tax on all vehicle registrations beginning in 2015.
The three-man board made no move Wednesday to do anything with the information other than release it and say that the money raised would have to be used for the repair and maintenance of the county’s 255 bridges. There are more than 7 million registered vehicles statewide, but Lechner said he didn’t know how many are in Mercer County.
“Well, with 116,000 people I would imagine there are at least 40,000 vehicles,” he said.
“So of course I have no idea what kind of money this would bring in, but it could go a long way in helping take care of all our bridges,” he said.
“We’re a long way from doing anything with this and it would take a lot of discussion, but it’s a discussion we’ll have,” he added.
Gov. Tom Corbett signed the legislation on Nov. 25, and it also includes money for the dirt and gravel road programs, and raises the speed limit to 70 mph on some roads, Lechner said.
Also during Wednesday’s work session Lechner said he’d like some more information about the proposed Veterans Court program that Senior Judge John C. Reed and Larry Scheetz, the county’s director of veterans affairs, are working on. Fiscal Administrator John Logan said he has no money in the 2014 budget earmarked for a veterans court, though he’s heard talk that such a program is in the works.
The commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. Jan. 23 in the assembly room in the courthouse.