Williams wants to increase car registration fees to pay for potholes and more

State Sen. Anthony H. Williams said Friday that if elected mayor, he would look to increase vehicle registration fees by $5 in Philadelphia to create a recurring revenue stream for the city Streets Department.

That means your passenger vehicle registration fee would go from $36 to $41. Motorcycles would go from $18 to $23. Truck registration fees vary by weight.

Using the city’s ubiquitous potholes as the prime example for what he says is an underfunded streets department, Williams said the increase in fees would be “a little extra effort” that would have “a visible impact on the quality of our lives.”

The current fees were set by the state but Philadelphia is allowed to increase the fee locally, Williams said. He thinks the hike is worth it in the long run.

“Philadelphia’s potholes are not just an annoyance but a symbol of the importance of well-maintained, clean streets in Philadelphia as a quality of life issue and highlights the need for more funding for the Streets Department budget for paving, street cleaning and maintenance,” Williams said in a statement.

He made his Pothole Patrol initiative announcement Friday in front of a pothole near 22nd and Pine in Center City.

It is prime pothole season as the streets are thawing from another rough winter. Last year, the city had to pay millions in overtime to keep up with the potholes

Williams noted that 10 years ago, the street department funding was $256 million, adjusted for inflation, and that today it is less than half of that. However, Williams didn’t say what his ideal funding number would be. 

The $5 increase in vehicle registration fees would bring in an additional $2.5 million for the streets department, Williams' camp said.

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