Business, labor leaders urge House to pass $2.5B transportation bill
HARRISBURG — Business and labor groups on Tuesday urged the state House to swiftly approve a Senate-passed bill to provide $2.5 billion for transportation needs, saying the investment would keep Pennsylvania competitive.
The joining of interests that often battle each other was intended to send a message to House members that jobs and public safety are on the line.
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development joined the groups to push for House passage of the bill that would lift the wholesale cap on gasoline taxes and likely raise prices at the pump to repair roads, bridges and increase funding for mass transit.
“We can't afford to wait any longer. We're getting to the point where inaction is going to discourage businesses from expanding and locating in the Pittsburgh region,” said Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference.
But Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, an opponent of the Senate bill contacted after the press conference, said it's “outrageous that special interest groups are demanding that the legislature increase taxes on citizens.” A $2.5 billion tax bill imposed “on the backs of working Pennsylvanians” is not a way to create jobs, said Metcalfe, R-Cranberry.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, who opposes the bill, said he intends to call a vote.
That could come as early as next week.
Historically, when a leader in the legislature or Congress agrees to hold a vote on a bill he opposes, it often means there's an intention to see it fail, giving the leader negotiating power, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College.
The potential exists for the bill to win approval with support of Democrats and a minority of the Republican Caucus, Metcalfe said. Metcalfe said only bills with majority support of the GOP Caucus should be voted.
House Republicans intended to discuss the bill, a priority of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's, behind closed doors Tuesday, said House GOP spokesman Stephen Miskin.
“It's time to fund transportation and transit and keep our region — and the whole state — competitive,” said Yablonsky.
Inaction, he said, would hurt transit not only in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh but in 67 counties. Transportation is “a core function of government,” he said.
“God help us if we don't do this and something happens,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat. The cost of fixing roads and bridges would double if lawmakers don't act now, DePasquale said, because such a bill would become off-limits in 2014, an election year.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said failing to act would mean “we're putting at risk job creation and young people moving to Allegheny County.”
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites
- Crosby, Malkin dazzle fellow All-Stars
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- State’s no-bid contracts with private law firms prompt scrutiny
- Tough times are in past for Pitt senior guard Kiesel
- Pitt women’s basketball team upends Boston College
- Frye: Mystery rifle stirs memories
- Pitt, Louisville square off after unusually long layoffs
- Fleury’s relay team struggles in NHL skills competition