The motoring public of the commonwealth should not have to sacrifice their safety while traveling in exchange for protection from the Pennsylvania State Police. In fact, this is exactly what is happening.

A recent audit conducted by the Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale revealed that significant funds generated from state gas tax are not being allocated appropriately. These funds are held in the Motor License Fund and are intended to be used solely for the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair of and safety on public highways and bridges.

Instead, these funds are being used to support the underfunded PSP.

How much money is being diverted you ask?

Per the Auditor General’s audit, $4.2 billion has been diverted from the MLF to the PSP since fiscal year 2012-13. Expanding the time frame to 2001 causes this number to approach $9 billion.

These figures are staggering. Despite the 4% rollback which is currently in place, the PSP will divert another $740 million from the MLF this year.

Each day, Pennsylvania motorists travel across 2,829 structurally-deficient bridges and expose themselves to hazards that emanate from public highways that are in dire need of maintenance and reconstruction.

Using the $740 million which will be channeled from the MLF this year alone, PennDOT could resurface nearly 4,000 lane miles of highway or design, replace and maintain almost 500 bridges for the next 25 years, dramatically improving the safety within the commonwealth.

It doesn’t stop there

Effective Oct. 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will be required to present a REAL ID driver’s license, photo ID card or any other form of federal identification prior to entering any federal building or boarding any plane. You guessed it.

Unconstitutionally, the MLF will also support the rollout of REAL ID, to the tune of approximately $150 million. Once again, your safety while traveling is being jeopardized by legislators who are diverting monies away from its intended purpose.

Lets solve these issues now

Let’s leverage the current economic surplus and increase the rate with which funding is being diverted from the PSP. Increasing the rate from 4% to 10% will free up an additional $65 million per year which can then be used for its intended purpose: maintaining the safety of the commonwealth’s highways and bridges.

This would all be accomplished without increasing gas taxes. At the conclusion of 10 years, Pennsylvania would not divert a single penny from the MLF.

As for REAL ID, the initiative originated from Homeland Security and has nothing to do with the maintenance and safety of Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges. Therefore, its expense should be financed via the General Fund rather than the MLF.

We encourage everyone to visit the link below. This link allows you to send an email to your elected officials, with one click, requesting that the inappropriate channeling of monies from the MLF be stopped immediately. Visit www.tci-pac.com.

Dan R. Hawbaker is president and CEO of Glenn O. Hawbaker of State College.