Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed House Bill 17 into law today, which preserves Philadelphia's red-light camera program.
However, he said he was disappointed the bill failed to ensure that a portion of Parking Authority earnings would benefit the Philadelphia School District.
"An alternative version of the red-light camera program extension would have directed $1.2 million of the program's proceeds to assist students in the Philadelphia School District each year," the Governor wrote in a signing message to the General Assembly. "This amount falls far short of the promised $4 million annual contribution but it would have been a step in the right direction.
"And while today's announcement that surplus Parking Authority funds will be transferred to the schools over the next two years is certainly good news, the red-light program legislation that the Legislature could have passed would have provided regular and predictable annual support to the Philadelphia School District.
"Moreover, in light of recent news reports on the Parking Authority's poor fiscal stewardship, I am disappointed that the General Assembly did not take the responsible step of mandating that a portion of the earnings from the red-light camera funds be directed to the schools," the Governor wrote.
In his letter, Governor Rendell noted that, despite a commitment of $45 million to the Philadelphia School District, the Parking Authority has only provided $4 million. Also, he said, the Parking Authority has provided no funds to the Philadelphia School District in six of the last seven years and 20 Parking Authority staff members earn more than $100,000 each year, clear evidence of a bloated management structure.
"I hope that the General Assembly, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Parking Authority will work with me to ensure that students -- not bloated bureaucracies -- benefit from the revenue collected by the actions taken or enabled by the Legislature.The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit http://www.governor.state.pa.us/.