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Pa. Gov. Corbett visits O'Hara Township; touts transportation system plan

James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Gov. Tom Corbett discusses transportation funding during a visit to PennDOT’s Allegheny County maintenance office in O’Hara Thursday February 14, 2013.

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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Gov. Tom Corbett visited O'Hara last week to discuss his nearly $2 billion funding plan for the state's transportation system.

Speaking at the PennDOT District 11 maintenance office, Corbett discussed the importance of improving transportation throughout the state.

“Our transportation system is truly the economic bloodstream of our state,” Corbett said. “Right now, we need to make certain it can continue to provide for our economic growth.”

The plan includes improvements to PennDOT management, opportunities for local governments to work with PennDOT on managing traffic signals and consolidation studies for public transportation.

Corbett called the sight of orange construction cones a sign of the state improving and moving forward.

“It's a sure sign that our economy is growing and we are growing with it,” Corbett said.

Funding options for the plan include decreasing the flat tax portion of the gas tax by about 17 percent within two years and deregulations to the Oil Company Franchise Tax by eliminating a cap in five years.

The plan includes $200 million for local roads and bridges each year and $250 million in new state funds for transit.

Barry Schoch, transportation secretary, said the department would look at sharing equipment and other ways it can modernize and save money.

“We'll look hard at everything we do,” Schoch said.

Schoch said some of the modernizations at PennDOT already are in place. Other changes proposed in Corbett's plan would require legislation.

Corbett and Schoch were joined by state Sens. Randy Vulakovich (R-40) and Timothy Solobay (D-46), state Rep. Harold English (R-30) and representatives from AARP, Allegheny County Conference on Community Development and PennAg Industries.

Corbett said the issue was about more than transportation.

“This is a public safety issue,” Corbett said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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