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Politics & Government

Rookie Lawmaker Wants to End Legislative Road-Naming

A freshman state House lawmaker is calling on his colleagues to spend less time naming roads and bridges.

Representative Warren Kampf (R-Chester) said when he first arrived in the General Assembly he was amazed by the number of bills House and Senate members pass to put plaques on structures and roadways throughout the commonwealth.

"It didn't strike me as a core function for the General Assembly," he said.

He said that shouldn't fall under the legislature's duties, although he said he's not dismissing the naming process.

"You know, I still view it as important. A lot of these roads and bridges are named after people that have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty for — for us," he said.

Senate Transportation Chairman John Rafferty said he doesn't see anything wrong with bridge-naming through legislation. The Montgomery County Republican says most of the roads and bridges become memorials to military veterans and prominent officials.

"They hold a very special place in the hearts of those folks back home. In many instances they're parents whose sons gave their lives overseas," Rafferty said.

Road and bridge-naming are almost never controversial, Rafferty said — except for one time when someone proposed to name a bridge that had yet to be built.

"And I refused. I said that I will do road-naming and bridge-naming only when there is something actually to affix the plaque to," Rafferty said. "So you aren't going to do one until there's an actual bridge."

Within the next week, Kampf expects to introduce his bill proposing to leave the naming largely to PennDOT and allow people who want to name a road or bridge to appeal directly to PennDOT. The measure would require whoever brings forth the name for a new bridge to also pay for the plaque that is affixed to it.