ShareThis Page

Transportation bill on target

| Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

In approving state transportation legislation, our governor and state legislators got it right. Not only did they find a way to make sausage, they included ingredients that produced a product low in fat that will actually improve our health. While the bill is far from perfect, it's not bad when compared with a product more generally known for artery clogging attributes.

The recipe was based on the Transportation Infrastructure Funding Commission report produced in August 2011. Since it was published, the $3.5 billion in transportation needs detailed in the report has likely risen to well over $4 billion. Because the legislation calls for phasing in its primary source of revenue, removing a cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax, the $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion per year of funding for highways, bridges and mass transit will not be achieved for five years.

Yes, we will continue to face a gap in transportation resources and needs. But that will ensure that PennDOT continues to find ways to make every dollar count. And transit systems throughout the commonwealth will still need to find and implement new operational efficiencies.

While much was said of the bill's provision to increase the prevailing wage requirement for transportation projects from $25,000 to $100,000, the provision will only impact a very small percentage of projects. The last time the prevailing-wage level changed was in 1961, and this ingredient was essential in the political process.

Joseph P. Kirk


The writer is executive director of the Mon Valley Progress Council.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.