Business, labor team up on state transportation bill
Flanked by construction workers, union officials, and business groups, officials from the Associated General Contractors of America criticized the state House on Thursday, saying its inaction on proposed funding to fix the state's aging infrastructure will cost jobs.
Richard Barcaskey, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the contractors' association, said if a transportation funding bill is not passed soon, 7,200 construction jobs will be lost and another 7,200 jobs will be lost in other industries.
“In an environment where everything seems to be so partisan, it's remarkable you can get the PA Chamber (of Business and Industry) and organized labor all together. It shows there's a need and the General Assembly needs to act,” Barcaskey said.
“The main message is that business and labor are standing up together,” said Ken Zapinski, vice president of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. “There's going to be an impact on the economy if the state does not act.”
The leaders gathered for a news conference under the Liberty Bridge, one of 1,000 bridges statewide on which PennDOT slapped weight restrictions last week. The Liberty Bridge weight limit is 30 tons, which likely bars loaded tractor-trailers and dump trucks from crossing it.
A $2.5 billion funding plan that would have uncapped the wholesale gas tax and increased license and registration fees passed the Senate 45-5 but died in the House.
Among those who opposed it was state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, who contends PennDOT should pay for fixes out of the $7 billion it gets. He said the weight restrictions were a political move designed to wrestle more money from the Legislature, something PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch has denied.
Bill Patton, a spokesman for House Democratic leadership, said the Democrats agreed with the contractors' criticism.
“It's way overdue for the Legislature to get something done on transportation,” Patton said.
A spokeswoman said Gov. Tom Corbett wants a bill to move forward when legislators return to work this fall.
“He's open to discussion about the (funding) parameters,” said spokeswoman Kelli Roberts.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Lowly job likely awaits former Pittsburgh police chief after prison
- Feds want to seize cash, property from suspects in drug bust
- Pedestrian struck, killed by train in Coraopolis
- Analyst says Pa. senate race leans toward Toomey — because Democrats ‘loathe’ Sestak
- Mixed-income apartments in flourishing East Liberty applauded
- 2 suspects sought in fatal Homestead shooting
- Richland man charged with sexually assaulting 14-year-old
- Millions to travel through Western Pa. during Memorial Day weekend
- Police seize heroin, cash in North Versailles
- Newsmaker: Paul Dubner
- Last-minute tweaks under way for Pittsburgh bike share