Blame for inaction on transportation funding can be shared by all

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As expected, soon after the General Assembly failed to pass a comprehensive transportation funding plan by the governor's June 30 deadline, the blame game started. Republicans blamed Democrats, who in turn blamed Republicans. The governor both received and distributed blame. In the end, the blame lies squarely on all of them.

The governor announced his plan in February, but it took until the final hours of a June 30 budget deadline for the full-time General Assembly to get nothing done on transportation and then take a break for the summer. This failure occurred despite broad support from a diverse coalition of businesses, unions, chambers of commerce and local governments.

Both sides share the blame. A number of conservative House members spoke out against transportation funding and offered a plan to cut public welfare to fund roads and bridges, but ended up voting for the state budget, which increased the Department of Public Welfare's budget by $333 million to nearly $11 billion. Not to be outdone, the Democrats in the House, who had been chastising the governor for almost two years for ignoring the need for additional funding, refused to vote on any plan.

Next time you are stuck in traffic, or if the school bus or emergency response vehicle has to take a detour because of a weight-restricted bridge, remember this: There is enough blame to go around for everyone unless a bipartisan solution can be achieved in the fall.

RICHARD BARCASKEY
Executive Director
Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania
Banksville


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