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Development & Transportation

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Still Looking for More Transportation Money

Governor Tom Corbett’s plan new transportation would generate more than $5 billion over a five year period, however, some say the budget might not be enough to fix Pennsylvania’s transit woes. The plan is projected to yield less money than the governor’s transportation funding advisory commission said would be necessary to keep up with the needs of the state’s ailing infrastructure.

Pennsylvania senate Transportation Committee chairman John Rafferty is leading the effort to draft legislation on the issue. He said he’s looking for something north of that.

“My goal is to reach about 2.7, 2.8 billion [dollars],” he said.

Rafferty said the panel will reach that goal by including things suggested by the advisory commission, including higher license and registration fees and violation fines.

But Governor Corbett says his transportation funding plan doesn’t include higher license and registration fees and higher violation fines for good reason.

“I made in our budget proposal what I considered to be a reasonable proposal in light of the economic times on the taxpayers of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and keeping them in mind first and foremost,” Corbett said.

One thing Rafferty will keep is the governor’s proposed reduction of a tax paid by consumers on gas at the pump, which has been criticized by Democrats as an olive branch to people who rankle at the idea of higher taxes.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said if the governor’s proposal is passed in the spring, he expects to put at least $200 million more toward construction projects this year. The secretary says if lawmakers can pass a bill that generates more funding, he can deliver more construction.