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City Councilwoman Cindy Bass (D-8)

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass (D-8)

Today, Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced an ordinance which would add a $5 fee onto vehicle registration in Philadelphia County to make for better, safer Philadelphia streets.

That money would, in turn, go toward “construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of and safety on public highways and bridges and costs and expenses … with the highest priority given to projects most likely to reduce traffic deaths,” according to the ordinance’s language.

This is an ordinance that the Bicycle Coalition has been pushing for to bring more resources to the City’s transportation agency since the state’s Act 89 included a provision allowing local counties to add a $5 fee onto vehicle registration.

According to her press release, which went out earlier today,

“Every part of our City has been impacted by senseless traffic fatalities,” said Councilwoman Bass. In light of all the traffic deaths and injuries, devoting more resources to slowing cars down will protect all those who use our public thoroughfares—motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit riders.”

According to the 2015 Vision Zero report produced by the Bicycle Coalition, Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of pedestrian traffic fatalities in the country.   A recent list from the Bicycle Coalition listed three intersections in the 8th Council District: Broad & Olney, Broad & Lehigh, and Chelten & Wayne in the top 10 for most pedestrian involved crashes. The report also highlights an additional $1 billion that traffic crashes cost the City ever year.  If passed, the additional funding provided for traffic calming measures like speed cushions will save lives and save money for the City every year.

Cumberland, Blair and Fulton Counties have already added the fees to vehicle registration.

The $5 vehicle registration fee would raise approximately $3.5 million for street repaving and traffic calming measures.

We called for this fee in our Better Mobility report and is the first step toward adding new resources to the Streets Department to making Philadelphia’s streets safer.

We want to thank Councilwoman Cindy Bass for taking this important step. This fee is one of the many elements that Philadelphia needs to implement to create a Vision Zero policy.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.