Share This Page

Butler commissioners lobby for transportation funding bill

| Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Butler County Commissioners have lobbied state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe to approve a transportation funding bill, but Metcalfe is refusing to do so if the package involves a funding increase.

“This county is No. 6 in the country in job growth. It will not keep that rank if infrastructure is not addressed,” said Bill McCarrier, chairman of the Butler County commissioners.

Letters went back and forth between the county commissioners and Metcalfe this summer asking for Metcalfe's help in getting the funding bill approved, particularly in light of PennDOT's decision to lower weight limits on 1,000 deteriorating bridges in the state. PennDOT said it had to do that to extend the life of the bridges because without the funding bill, the money is not available to fix them.

“If a transportation bill doesn't get passed, it will have a negative impact on this whole area. It's bad for the whole state. We've had several businesses contact us about their frustration with this,” said McCarrier.

In a June letter to Metcalfe, McCarrier and his colleagues, Dale Pinkerton and James Eckstein, said that state funding for roads and bridges has not been adjusted for inflation since 1997 and that federal funding has not changed since 1993.

Inadequate transportation funding is not limited to bridges, Pinkerton said.

For years, traffic on Route 288 in southern Butler County has been a bottleneck.

“I'm sure that people who spend hours each week stuck in traffic on Route 228 would be in favor of a transportation bill. That road should have been widened years ago,” Pinkerton said.

In a letter to the commissioners, Metcalfe says he has never voted for a tax increase and never will.

“Taxpayers are paying enough already. We have to reprioritize how we spend. I will not vote for anything that includes new fees or taxes,” Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe's anti-tax views are problematic, Pinkerton said.

“He does not ever believe in raising taxes or fees. This area has all sorts of traffic issues. When we have bridges shut off and businesses not able to drive to and from their businesses, something needs to be done.”

In June, the state Senate passed a bill that would increase transportation spending by $2.5 billion a year. Leaders of the House Republican majority, including majority leader Mike Turzai of Bradford Woods, would not endorse the Senate bill.

Turzai last week said he would allow a vote on the bill.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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.