LEHIGH COUNTY: Armstrong favors car register fee
Lehigh County Commissioners approved their 2019–23 Capital Plan Aug. 8. The plan sets the investment in capital projects through 2023. Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty sponsored the plan. He said the $129.1 million plan is higher than previous years because it contains about $73 million for the planned Cedarbrook renovation.
In other business, the commissioners reappointed William McQuilken of Lynn Township to the Lehigh County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Board.
Lehigh County Executive Philips Armstrong spoke to the commissioners to support his proposed $5 per vehicle per year registration fee ,which he described as the price of a cup of coffee. He said he would give up a cup of coffee to ensure that the county has safe bridges and roads.
Armstrong said the fee, combined with an expected state subsidy of $2 million, will help the county and its political subdivisions to repair infrastructure. He said that during his visits to Lehigh County’s city and township meetings over the past six months he has heard people at most of those meetings ask him, “When will a particular road or bridge be repaired?”
He said Lehigh County has 13 bridges considered to be deficient. He said Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Tony Iannelli considers good infrastructure to be essential for local commerce.
Armstrong emphasized that if a citizen who owns a car and makes less than $19,200 annual income, that person will not have to pay this fee. If a citizen does not own a car, that citizen will not pay the fee.
Armstrong said the fee – “not a tax” will raise about $1.5 million per year for the county.
“It will require a sacrifice from everyone who owns a car,” said Armstrong. “They are going to have to buy one less cup of Starbucks coffee per year.”