Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another plea for transportation funding fix

Another plea for transportation funding fix

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No one in the Capitol these days disputes that state government needs to address - and fast - Pennsylvania's looming transportation funding problem.

Despite this rare agreement among politicians on both sides of the political aisle, nothing seems to be getting done - or even about to get done.

And so it was Monday that yet another lawmaker joined the growing chorus urging for a fix to the transportation crisis. That would be state Rep. Rick Geist (R., Blair), who chairs the House Transportation Committee.

Geist said he didn't want to point fingers or blame anyone for the inaction but he also was hard-pressed to explain the paralysis on this topic.

A big part of the problem: politics.

Last year, Gov. Corbett assembled an advisory commission to look into ways to solve the funding problem. The commission released a report last summer, and recommended a number of ways to close the $3.5 billion transportation funding gap that the state faces. They included raising fees on auto titles, inspections, driver's licenses, and other documents to keep up with inflation.

Corbett has yet to act on his transportation panel's recommendations, some of which could be perceived as tax hikes - and thereby go contrary to the governor's no-tax campaign pledge. During his budget address, Corbett would only say that he looked forward to working with the legislature to find a solution.

Geist, for one, seemed to be optimistic. "I believe they are keenly aware of what needs to be done and what needs to be done ... It's now incumbent on us to get this moving."

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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