Senate Appropriations chairman Jake Corman (R., Centre) urged the Corbett administration and his colleagues in the legislature to adopt the findings contained in Gov. Corbett's advisory commission's report on how to solve Pennsylvania's transportation funding crisis.
"The only reason not to do it is political fear," Corman said at a press conference earlier today. "And that is not acceptable."
The commission's report was released over the 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. Earlier this month, he seemed to put to the kibosh on the effort, saying during a news conference that he wasn't certain the time was right to act on the plan.
Instead, Corbett said he wanted to focus his attention on passing a fee on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, as well as school vouchers, which he supports.
But Corman countered that there is no other bill being currently discussed that holds more promise for bettering Pennsylvania's economy than transportation improvements. That is why, he noted, almost all large business chambers across the state have listed transportation as their number one priority.
He said legislators shouldn't fear the fee increases, which would be phased in over 5 years, and cost the average motorist 70 cents more per week in year 1, and roughly $2.50 more per week in the last year.
If nothing is done, Corman argued, those people will still end up paying out of their pockets to fix wear and tear on their cars. And that says nothing of the potential danger of a bridge collapse or other dangerous - if not deadly - accident.
"I can't think of an easier time to do this than right now," said Corman. "The time is now."
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