Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Governor Rendell is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to send transportation funding bills to his desk before Labor Day.
Rendell wants the House and Senate to return to Harrisburg in late August to start working on transportation funding.
To highlight what he sees as an immediate need for new transportation revenue, he brought a Scranton Times-Tribune article about a 6-foot long chunk of cement that fell from a 55-year-old Lackawanna County bridge to his appearance before the Senate Transportation Committee.
"We can’t wait until next year. Someone could have been killed. Every day we delay increases the chances that we will ruin someone’s lives. That we will risk public safety. We have to move and we have to move now."
Some rural Senators expressed skepticism, saying too much state money is funding mass transportation in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
But Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler countered that argument by pointing out urban tax revenue pays for rural repairs, too.
"If we only used the gas tax revenue that was generated in each county to take care of the county state-owned roads in each county, you’d have about a fraction of the money that’s being spent in your district, that you have now today."
Rendell wants lawmakers to generate at least 500 million dollars for transportation projects, but says ideally, he wants to see 1 to 3 billion dollars set aside for repairing roads and bridges and funding mass transportation.
The governor says he’ll sign any bill creating new revenue, but he prefers to impose a profits tax on oil companies.