Luzerne County $5 vehicle registration fee takes effect

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected]
Pedri Pedri -

Luzerne County’s new $5 vehicle registration fee became official Friday and is now being collected, county Manager C. David Pedri announced.

County council had approved the fee in May, but Pedri said during his annual public forum in December that the state Department of Transportation was not yet collecting it due to questions about a sunset provision.

The council-added provision says the fee will automatically end if the state is no longer providing a funding match.

County Chief Solicitor Romilda Crocamo has said the administration had to work with state legal counsel on a procedure halting the fee if the match ends. PennDOT mails out vehicle registration fee bills approximately 90 days before they are due and needed to ensure a cancellation was in sync with its billing schedule, she has said.

Pedri said all specifics have been ironed out, and he received state confirmation the fee will take effect immediately.

The fee will yield an estimated $1.4 million annually to repair the county’s 302 bridges and approximately 125 miles of county roads, not including a state match of up to $2 million the first year, officials have said. All receipts must be used for the upkeep and construction of county roads and bridges.

Luzerne is the 23rd county to enact a fee, Pedri said.

The county administration will provide council with an update of road and bridge projects at the Feb. 12 council meeting, Pedri said.

Approximately 281,000 registered vehicles are eligible for the fee, officials say. The state law authorizing the fee contains some exemptions, including vehicles that are owned by governments, some charities and nonprofits, disabled veterans and volunteer emergency response agencies.

Several citizens had urged council to vote against the fee, citing the snowball effect of rising costs for other services. Some council members supporting the fee said they do not want to forego an opportunity to obtain the state match to address aging infrastructure, particularly when needed repairs far exceed available funding.

Pedri
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/web1_TTL091318Pedri2-1.jpgPedri

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.