Monday, August 23, 2010

Rendell to Spell Out Transportation Budget

Governor Ed Rendell says he will greet Pennsylvania lawmakers when they return to Harrisburg this morning with details on how he plans to fill a state transportation budget gap. The Governor has been touring the state in recent weeks while the legislature has been on break giving hints about his proposals. Among his ideas is an increase in the state’s gas tax and higher registration and licenses fees. State Senator Jay Costa of Forest Hills is the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says he’s anxious to hear the governor’s plan. A recent study says not only does the state need to fill the gap created when the federal government rejected a bid to toll I-80, but it also needs to add millions of dollars a year to the transportation budget to keep up with the repair and replacement demands of crumbling roads and bridges. Costa says he thinks now is the time to approve revenue enhancements dedicated to transportation. He notes that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett has already taken a no new tax pledge and may not be willing to increase fees. To make sure the work gets done this year, Senator Costa says legislative leaders may need to work past the deadline created by the November 2nd election. Currently the Senate does not have any voting session days scheduled after October 14th. Costa says a special session on transportation can go into late November if needed.

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