Corbett: Don't delay transit vote

Funding package timeline extended into November

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HARRISBURG -- After another delay among state lawmakers to enact new transportation funding, Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday urged the Legislature to send him a bill in the coming weeks.

"Do not take this lightly," he told reporters at a bill signing in the Capitol. "If this bill doesn't pass this year, I don't know when it will."

The governor has pushed since February to secure new annual funding for the state's roads, bridges and public transit networks. A funding package passed the Senate in June but has not reached the floor of the House, where topics of negotiation now include changes to the prevailing wage law, which require union-level compensation on public construction projects.

House Republicans had said a vote could occur this week, but on Tuesday that timeline was extended into November, when legislators will return after nearly three weeks away from the Capitol.

Mr. Corbett appealed to public safety and job creation as he urged lawmakers to reach agreement.

"We have been underinvesting in transportation for decades," he said. "Our public transportation systems are failing. Our roads and bridges are crumbling."

"And that's [not just] a metaphor," he said, holding up two chunks of material that he said came from a bridge in Harrisburg.

"The Legislature can fix this, and now is the time to do that," he said. "Our citizens deserve better than crumbling concrete. Our citizens deserve a transit system that is working."

Both chambers are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Nov. 12.

Observers and participants in the transportation discussion believe it will become more difficult to pass a revenue-raising bill as elections approach next year.

Karen Langley: or 717-787-2141.

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