Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says lawmakers need to get back to Harrisburg to deal with transportation funding. The state transportation budget proposed by governor Rendell was blown apart when the federal government refused the state’s application to toll I-80 and Rendell immediately called for a special session to deal with the matter. The legislature did not include the transportation budget as part of its operating or capital budget deliberations and promised to take up the issue at a later date. Rendell says he wants to see them in special session July 20th. “Now there is some talk of them not showing up on July 20th. If they don’t show up the citizens of Pennsylvania should be pretty ticked off. Because we pay our legislature a full-time salary… well full time means July and August.” Rendell says if the state does not find new revenue soon it will not only have a negative impact on road and bridge repairs but also mass transit funding. The Port Authority of Allegheny County stands to lose about a quarter of its state funding and is contemplating deep cuts and fare increases.
State Rep Dan Frankel says the state needs to act immediately and he will support a July 20th start to the special session. He says everything needs to be on the table and the solution needs to include funding for mass transit. “I don’t think it makes sense to cannibalize our mass transit system in an era where you are talking about clean energy, energy efficiency. This is the wave of the future. The investments we ought to be making, not disinvesting from mass transportation,” Says Frankel.