A top Pennsylvania Senate Republican is trying to bring the issue of the commonwealth's ailing roads and bridges to the forefront by introducing a package of bills dealing with the financial side of the equation.
At the beginning of the month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said he hadn't made any decisions about transportation funding because of the tough economy even though his Transportation Funding Advisory Commission released a lengthy report identifying possible revenue streams and funding needs. However, Senator Jake Corman believes now is the time to act.
"Not only is it the first year of a cycle, but we've had floods, which have caused damage to our highways and bridges, we've had earthquakes. … [The report] says the same thing that previous administrations have said. And again to my knowledge, no one's disputing the reports. No one's disputing that this revenue source is not needed," said Corman, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Among the commission's ideas were higher fees for driver's licenses and vehicle registration, as well as phasing out the cap on the wholesale gas tax.
"We're in a tough economy right now. We need jobs. We need people creating jobs," said Corman. "Even the transportation truck companies that would probably end up paying the larger amounts of fees for these are for this."
The chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees say that they won't consider a bill until Corbett says what he'll support.