PA could lose $40 million federal highway funding

| Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pennsylvania is in danger of losing as much as $40 million in federal highway money if it fails to meet a Sept. 30 deadline for compliance with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could also take away the state’s authority to issue and renew commercial driver’s licenses if the deadline is not met.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to must comply with the regulations in several areas, including:

  • Obtaining out-of-state driving records for the past 10 years for CDL applicants and reflecting their driving histories electronically;
  • Counting traffic violations committed in personal vehicles such as a car the same as if the violation had occurred in a commercial vehicle. These violations include improper passing, reckless driving and traveling more than 15 mph over the speed limit; and
  • Keeping convictions for any violation (except parking tickets) of state and local traffic laws in the state on permanent record for CDLs. For example, a record of entering an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for drunk driving would not be removed from a driver’s record.

While Pennsylvania still has several months to comply, the regulations have sparked a dispute between Republicans and Democratic lawmakers in the state.

The Post-Gazette reported that each political party is blaming the other for not implementing the changes sooner and that the changes could cost as much as $5 million to make.

Pennsylvania is not alone in this situation either. According to the FMCSA, there are still 22 states with three or more items of noncompliance, while nine states still had just one or two items to address.

Only 14 states are in compliance.