Wrangling over state transportation bill moves to November
Negotiations over how to raise and spend more than $2 billion on roads, bridges and transit have been pushed to mid-November, legislative leaders said on Tuesday.
House Republicans portrayed this week as make-or-break in considering the bill Republican Gov. Tom Corbett regards as a top priority.
Stumbling blocks have included the amount of money allocated for mass transit, a GOP effort to reduce the mandatory wage rate paid on public construction projects, and lifting the state’s cap on wholesale gas taxes that would increase prices at the pump.
What’s different now is that House Speaker Sam Smith says negotiations will be bicameral and include Senate Republicans and Democrats. To date, only the two parties in the House considered the bill behind closed doors. The Senate approved a $2.5 billion transportation bill in June.
“The four leaders (House and Senate) intend to come up with a bill supported by both chambers,” Smith spokesman Stephen Miskin said.
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, still “feels optimistic, given the complexity of ongoing discussions and he believes it is better to not rush the process,” his spokesman, Bill Patton, said.
Bob Latham, vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, said the new approach lends hope to the idea it will be done “in a deliberative way.”
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 or [email protected].