Pa. lawmakers are right to want modest reforms in transportation bill

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As an organization that views providing adequate dollars for transportation infrastructure as an essential function of state government, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry welcomes the Post-Gazette's call for lawmakers to pass a comprehensive funding bill. We agree -- it's time to provide appropriate resources for transportation. However, the newspaper's recent editorial ("Mischief Makers: GOP Reps Are the Roadblock on Transportation," Oct. 29) paints an unfair and incomplete picture of the debate thus far.

It is disingenuous to now call out certain legislators who are seeking modest reform without referencing a pivotal point in the debate that occurred late this past June. Public sector unions deliberately worked to derail a transportation funding bill in an effort to prevent state store privatization. Evidence indicates that the unions may have even used taxpayer resources (state computers) to conduct their lobbying campaign. They clearly put their own agenda before that of the public good. They also did so at the expense of their transportation sector union brotherhood, which is working with the business community to secure a multi-modal funding plan.

This measure is critical to efficient commerce, jobs and motorist safety. However, it nonetheless could require motorists to pay a bit more if oil and gas companies attempt to recover the costs of higher taxes at the pump. Therefore, it is completely appropriate and responsible that some lawmakers are asking for prevailing wage changes, which include raising an antiquated project threshold that hasn't been updated since 1963 and reinstituting an exemption for routine maintenance work.

The Pennsylvania Chamber supports a funding bill with or without the prevailing wage reform language but certainly won't criticize lawmakers for wanting reasonable cost-saving measures to be part of the proposal.

GENE BARR

President and CEO

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Harrisburg


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