Just in from Harrisburg – tonight a third vote was taken on the transportation funding bill and it passed 104-95! Apparently, Gov. Corbett managed to persuade some of his fellow Republicans to switch sides! At this time, I have no information on how our local elected officials voted except that 63 Republicans and 41 Democrats approved the bill.
Last night the transportation funding bill failed twice to get the necessary votes. If I were a betting person, I would have bet that after last night’s two failed attempts, that was the end of the road for the proposed transportation funding for 2013 and probably 2014. Guess third time’s the charm!
The bill will provide $2.4 billion in new funding for the state’s roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems over the next five years. This represents a 39 percent increase in current transportation spending. The breakdown of the $2.4 billion funding package is $1.8 billion for road, bridge and tunnel improvements, $500 million for public transit systems and $144 million for rail freight, ports and airports.
It should be noted that the bill must still win final passage from the House and the Senate. Although the Senate overwhelming approved the transportation bill in June it was without the amended House version that lifts the threshold at which public projects must pay union wages. There’s a clause that would lower construction workers’ pay on some road and bridge projects that are below $100K.
With the approval of the transportation bill, it looks like the Paoli Transit Center and the PA turnpike widening projects are back on the possible funding table!