Pa. private road, school projects advance amid public funding struggle (Update)

UPDATE: The transport funding and gas tax bill passed late Wednesday; "P3" is going forward, too. EARLIER: The morning after the General Assembly torpedoed Gov. Corbett's latest attempt to pass a road and Septa public-funding budget and gas-tax hike, Republican members are circulating notes in support of "public private partnership" projects, in which private companies could petition state government to build or schools and other public projects and borrow, charge user fees or levy other financing on public-funded works without state involvement. The state passed a similar plan for roads and bridges last year.

Rep. Eli Evanovich, R-54, plans to introduce a bill building on last year's "P3" legislation to lay out detailed guidelines. One of the proposal's longtime apostles, lawyer Frank Rapaport of Peckar & Abramson, Berwyn, tells me this proposal has the general support of influential Rep. Mike Turzai, whose opposition helped sink Corbett's last attempt.

I also hear the delayed Susquehanna toll bridge on US 15/PA 147 near Shamokin Dam is among the first privately-funded projects likely to be proposed under the P3 regime. So far I haven't seen plans to tll the I-95 bridge to Jersey, US 422 from King of Prussia to Reading, or other roads former Gov. Ed Rendell's administration once hoped to toll.