Saturday, February 6, 2016

Transportation speculation

What if the PA House had its old Transportation Committee chairman in place? Things maybe, possibly, potentially could be different.

Transportation speculation


Far be it from me to speculate.

No, wait. That's what I do all the time.

So allow a little speculation regarding the current Gordian Knot in the PA House that's holding up action on needed funding for roads, bridges and mass transit (see my Monday column on the topic).

Back in April 2012, the then-chairman of the House Transportation Committee, a civil engineer and 30-year-plus House veteran, Rep. Rick Geist, of Altoona, had legislative clout and know-how on all issues tied to roads, bridges and mass transit.

But the Republican lawmaker was stunned in a Primary Election that month. He lost by 196 votes to a newcomer, an associate professor of finance at Penn State Altoona, John McGinnis, who was backed by a tea party-type group spending more than $100,000 on his campaign.

McGinnis went on to win that fall and Geist went home.

Not saying McGinnis is a bad guy. Not saying the good people of 79th legislative district in Blair County made a bad decision.

Just saying when you fast-forward to a time experienced leadership on transportation issues might come in handy you find less of it in the House than there was, say, a year ago.

McGinnis serves on the following House committees: Aging, Labor & Industry, State Government and (for some reason) Urban Affairs (you know where Blair County is, right?).

And while his House colleagues wrestle with transportation issues, McGinnis is seeking co-sponsors for a resolution "with due reverence to the Almighty" to recognize Feb. 10, 2014, as the 60th anniversary of the addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.



Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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