Governor Corbett’s full court press to pass his preferred transportation bill met with stern resistance and failed to pass last night in the Pennsylvania House. Although a top priority for the Republican governor, it is the Republican caucus in the House that has proven difficult for him to convince.
The $2.3 billion bill follows on a $2.5 billion plan that has already passed on the Senate side. The House, however, rejected it by the narrow margin of 103-98 originally. Then, on a reconsideration vote, the margin of defeat grew to 112-89.
Several proposed amendments were floated as part of an attempt to fund smaller parts of the plan. Representative Mike Turzai offered a substantially smaller $971 million plan that was promoted as an emergency measure to address bridges. That proposal was withdrawn before a vote could be taken on it though. It’s likely safe to assume that Representative Turzai’s bill was pulled before it too could be voted down.
The primary objections in the legislation proposed by the governor relate to (1) a proposed increase in fuel taxes, (2) an adjustment to the prevailing wage threshhold, and (3) concerns that large amounts of money are being given to public transportation in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
News reports out of Harrisburg suggest that the House may be re-working the bill in an attempt to approve badly needed transportation funding. Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is in dire need of work, so it is likely some form of the bill will pass. The length of time it takes and what eventually passes is a matter of politics at this point.