Gov. Tom Corbett made a big deal during his campaign about the state fleet. He said it was too big and he promised to reduce it.
So has he? In a word, yes.
When Corbett came into office, it was almost impossible to account for every car controlled by the state. They didn’t know exactly how many they had, but now they do. They’ve added them up and started subtracting.
Just before Corbett was sworn in, there were 10,047 passenger vehicles in the state fleet. That number is now 8,963 – an 11 percent reduction.
“It’s better managed, more cost-efficient, more cost-effective,” Department of General Services spokesman Troy Thompson said.
For state workers driving more than 900 miles a month, it’s cheaper to give them a car than reimburse them the federal rate of 51 cents a mile to drive their own. The state now uses a trip calculator to determine the cheapest way to travel, and employees are all but forced to use it.
“Travel is not meant to be a revenue generator for our employees or a salary enhancement,” Thompson said. “What we’re doing is making sure if they don’t use the cheapest mode possible they’ll be reimbursed 19 cents per mile.”
Cabinet secretaries still get cars, but many workers with fancy titles who used to get them now don’t. Only if their work miles warrant it do they get a free ride.
“The idea of a company car no longer has a place here in Pennsylvania,” Thompson said.
The Department of General Services does not count state police cars or PennDOT maintenance vehicles in its total number.
They want taxpayers to report a car being used inappropriately, either bad driving or for personal use. The phone number is 877-DGS-9966.