If Philadelphia City Council has its way, car owners in the city are going to pay more to register their vehicles each year.
An effort led by Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Councilman Mark Squilla, the bill raises the vehicle registration fee in Philadelphia by $5. The additional revenue will go toward road improvements, in part to boost the effort known as Vision Zero.
City Council passed the bill, which now awaits Mayor Nutter's signature, who's expected to sign the bill.
Vision Zero is an initiative to completely eliminate traffic deaths in Philadelphia — hence the "zero." The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia helps spearhead the effort.
"The $5 fee on motor vehicle registration that passed last week will help fund the Streets Department's paving backlog and add some much-needed infrastructure that will create safer Philadelphia streets," explained the BCGP's Randy LoBasso, "which is something I think all road users — people on bicycles, pedestrians and drivers — can get behind."
LoBasso cited the lack of opposition to Bass and Squilla's effort as an indicator City Council is behind at least part of Vision Zero. The BCGP projects the rate hike to raise an additional $3.5 million for the city's capital paving budget.
In 2013, the Pa. legislature authorized local governments to attach additional fees to state vehicle registration rates via Act 89.
But what about drivers upset by paying more? After all, the Mayor's Office on Transportation and Utilities says that 50 percent of all Philly workers commute to work by driving alone.
Earlier this month, Councilwoman Bass said that saving lives is worth the small increase.
"In light of all the traffic deaths and injuries," Bass declared, "devoting more resources to slowing cars down will protect all those who use our public thoroughfares — motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit riders."