Several legislators and the state's top transportation official said Wednesday they will continue to push for a comprehensive transportation funding bill to pass the Legislature this fall.
"I'm still looking for that same figure, $2.5 billion" annually, said Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, speaking at a state Senate transportation committee hearing Wednesday, referring to the bill that passed the Senate in June but failed to make it to the House floor for a vote before legislators left for their summer recess.
The House version of the bill couldn't muster any votes from House Democrats, who said it didn't devote enough funds to mass transit, and it couldn't raise enough votes from House Republicans, as a more conservative faction of the GOP caucus said they opposed the bill's method of raising revenue through uncapping the oil company franchise tax, which could have raised prices at the pump.
Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch said due to the failure to pass a bill, PennDOT engineers are examining 1,200 of the commonwealth's bridges; he expects a number of them will be weight-restricted sometime this summer or fall.
Gov. Tom Corbett has repeatedly identified improved transportation funding as a top legislative priority.