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Politics & Government

Rendell Enters the Fray over Transportation Funding

Ed Rendell couldn't sit this debate out.

The former Democratic governor has penned a letter to all the state House members pleading for their votes on the $2.5 billion transportation funding plan — and not to let it be linked to other issues, like liquor privatization.

In years past, top lawmakers have talked about such deal-making as perfectly acceptable. The Senate President Pro Tem calls it the "Rendell school of leverage."

But the school's namesake said the stakes are too high now.

"We've delayed so long on infrastructure," Rendell told reporters in a conference call Thursday. "Look, sometimes that's a perfectly acceptable maneuver. But we've let our infrastructure go."

House Republicans have indicated this vote will be a tough one because of the proposed fees in the plan and the chance it could cause gas prices to go up.

But the chairman of the Transportation Committee now considering the measure says he wants to get it done. And the head of PennDOT says the governor wouldn't object to the two-point-five billion dollar price tag of the overall proposal.