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Mon Yough Chamber prepares for annual legislative luncheon

| Monday, April 28, 2014, 2:11 a.m.
State transportation secretary Barry J. Schoch

When the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce held its legislative breakfast last year, a transportation policy was working its way through the General Assembly.

When the chamber holds what this year is a legislative luncheon on Friday at Westwood Golf Club in West Mifflin, the topic will be what has become Act 89 of 2013.

PennDOT secretary Barry J. Schoch will be keynote speaker for the 11:30 a.m. event.

Chamber president Maury Burgwin said Schoch will discuss what Act 89 means for Allegheny County and the Mon Valley.

Schoch was nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett as transportation secretary in January 2011. He oversees roughly 12,000 employees who manage services ranging from highways and public transit to driver and vehicle services.

Schoch has more than 30 years of engineering experience including 15 as a vice president of McCormick, Taylor & Associates in Harrisburg.

Schoch graduated from Penn State University in 1982 with a degree in civil engineering. He is a former president of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association and chairman of the Pennsylvania Consulting Engineers and Design Professionals Coalition transportation committees.

Burgwin said at least 90 reservations were received so far. He expects more than 150.

Last year's keynoter was PennDOT deputy secretary for safety administration Kurt J. Myers.

“We are lagging behind neighboring states in terms of delivering sustained and significant investment to our transportation system,” Myers said last year, saying legislation in Virginia, Maryland and Ohio would “position those states at the forefront for businesses looking to relocate their operations.”

As signed into law by Corbett on Nov. 25, Act 89 aims to invest $2.3 to $2.4 billion into transportation by 2018.

It is funded in part by elimination of a flat 12-cent gas tax and uncapping the wholesale Oil Company Franchise Tax — which some say will raise costs at the pump by 28 cents a gallon over the next five years.

Bill Flanagan, Allegheny Conference on Community Development executive vice president for corporate relations, will be master of ceremonies for the luncheon.

Sponsors include Comcast, the Pittsburgh Business Times, Sam's Club, McKeesport's Penn State Greater Allegheny campus, Community College of Allegheny County whose South Campus is in West Mifflin, the borough of West Mifflin and the chamber's Government Affairs Committee chaired by Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin.

Other members of the committee are Burgwin, Renee Clark, Marti Gastel, Robert Haramia, Philip Scolieri, Carolyn Hall and John Palyo.

The luncheon comes in an election year for the General Assembly, but all area senators are in the middle of their terms and no primary contests are on tap for House seats. The only local contest on May 20 is for U.S. House in the 14th District, where incumbent Mike Doyle of Forest Hills takes on the Rev. Janis C. Brooks of North Versailles Township in the Democratic primary.

Tickets are $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers. To register call 412-678-2450 or see the www.monyoughchamber.com website.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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