It was a long time coming, but after years of study and discussion, the state House and Senate did the right thing this week in mustering enough votes to pass a major transportation funding package.
Democratic and Republican leaders, from Gov. Tom Corbett to former Gov. Ed Rendell, from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to former Executive Jim Roddey, put pressure on the Legislature to invest in road maintenance, safe bridges and effective transit. Vocal support for a deal came also from business, labor and anyone who supports economic development in Pennsylvania.
With all that consensus, passage of a bill should not have taken this long or come with such drama.
Regardless, after the Senate approved a massive funding plan in June, the House dashed hopes Monday by rejecting a similar proposal, 103-98. The next day, the House reversed course and passed a plan, 104-95, to provide an extra $2.3 billion a year in transportation funding. The Senate went along a day later, 43-7.
The final bill was imperfect in that it included a “prevailing wage” provision that raises the dollar threshold on public projects that require the use of union-scale pay. It’s an issue that should have been debated and voted on separately.
But few pieces of legislation are perfect. In the end, the majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly voted for the good of Pennsylvania.