Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

OMG! An Idea!

In Pennsylvania's Land of Lost Ideas, PennDOT actually has one to save money.

OMG! An Idea!

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Believe it not, there's a new idea circulating in Pennsylvania goverment.

BE: You mean some new thinking in the Land of Lost Ideas?

JB: I do. Over the holiday weekend, there were reports that PennDOT is making a recommendation to the legislature to save about $6.5 million a year.

BE: By fixing fewer bridges and filling fewer potholes?

JB: No, they already do that. But, surprise, savings from this new idea could be applied, for example, to road and bridge repair and maintenance.

BE: By cutting down on the number of highway cones used for miles and miles to alert drivers to four feet of road work?

JB: Nope. This idea would double the life of drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations and do away with those pesky little registration stickers that you paste on your license plate.

BE: I hate those things. And scraping off the old one. Or getting the new one stuck somewhere it shouldn't be.

JB: Well, under PennDOT's proposal you've scraped and mis-stuck your last.

BE: And my license and registration?

JB: You pay the same per year, except it's every eight years for your license and every two years for your registration.

BE: Saves on postage too, huh?

JB: Yes, because now, you pay a license renewal fee every four years and a registration fee annually. Fees vary depending on vehicle and license type. Here's PennDOT's list. If this happens, you'd pay double your current fee but renew your registration every two years, your license every eight, saving money for printing, processing, photo-IDs, etc.

BE: Somebody has to hate this.

JB: As in all new ideas. Some in law enforcement worry about a driver's change in appearance over eight years, or change of address. Others won't like having to pay more money at renewal time.

BE: And, of course, the legislature will look to use the opportunity to hike the fees.

JB: Always a danger.

BE: But, hey, new ideas should be considered, no?

JB: In the Land of Lost Ideas, all things should be considered. Grrr.

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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