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Politics & Government

Corbett Administration Again Pushes Transportation Plan

Gov. Tom Corbett is in call-to-action mode, urging passage of a transportation funding proposal for the second time in a week.

A $2.5 billion plan is expected to be passed by the full Senate within the next two weeks.

But the real question is whether House Republicans will vote for a bill that does things like hike driver’s license fees and uncap a tax paid by gas stations.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said he’s been going to each House lawmaker to explain what’s at stake.

"I totally respect this is not an easy decision for a sitting legislator to take a vote on something where we’re going to charge people more," he said. "What we’re trying to do is educate everyone on what’s the cost if you don’t do it. And what are you going to charge people. Because, you know we either charge you to fix the problem or we don’t charge you and then the problem gets worse. And then we’re charging you a different way."

A Washington-based transportation group backed by construction contractors has put a figure to the average annual cost of ailing roads and bridges.

Its report finds the each Pennsylvania driver pays up to $1,800 a year due to things like higher vehicle operating costs and traffic delays.   

Republican Dick Hess, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he thinks the House will approve a funding bill somewhere between the governor’s proposed $1.8 billion plan and the Senate’s $2.5 billion plan."

"We’re right in the middle of negotiations," Hess said. "We’ll wait to see what comes over from the Senate, then we’ll have a better idea of where we want to go."

Republican Senator John Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the transportation bill will be passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be sent over to the House within the next two weeks.