PennDOT slapped new weight restrictions on 1,000 bridges Thursday. Now do House Republicans believe Pennsylvania has a transportation funding crisis?
Two years after Gov. Tom Corbett's transportation funding commission recommended a package of revenue sources to deliver an additional $2.7 billion a year to fix roads, bridges and transit, the Republicans who run state government have yet to enact a plan.
It took the governor until last February to come out for a measure that would generate an extra $1.8 billion annually. Then the Senate voted in June for a bill that would provide an added $2.5 billion a year.
Now businesses and regional development groups still feel compelled to exert pressure on GOP House members, as they did at hearings in Pittsburgh Wednesday, to prove that the funding shortfall hurts Pennsylvania's economy. Latest example: All those weight-restricted bridges, including Downtown's Liberty Bridge, will raise costs for business.
What is it that the majority Republican caucus doesn't get? Are they so afraid of raising driver's license and vehicle fees and lifting the tax cap on wholesale gasoline -- the proposed sources of new revenue -- that they can't find the backbone to maintain Pennsylvania's roads and bridges? Does the Tea Party now own the House of Representatives?
The equivocating words of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai are not encouraging: "We're looking at options that address those needs and balancing that with our fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers."
Now that 1,000 bridges have suddenly become restricted, Mr. Turzai and his colleagues should balance something else: how soon their careers will end when dawdling by the House causes a tragedy.