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House Passes Transportation Funding Bill

traffic_light_green_go1The third time’s the charm.

Rep. Nick Micozzie’s (R-Delaware) amendment to the transportation funding bill passed on its third vote Tuesday, 104 to 95, effectively sending the $2.3 billion to the Senate.

The amendment failed in two votes Monday night, by a larger margin its second time up..

A handful of Republicans switched their votes and put the bill over the finish line: Reps.  Karen Boback (R-Columbia), Seth Grove (R-York), Mark Keller (R-Franklin), Michael Peifer (R-Monroe), Stan Saylor (R-York) and Will Tallman (R-Adams). Dems who swapped in favor of the bill are Nick Kotik (D-Allegheny), Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster).

Every single one of the Republicans who changed their yeas to nays yesterday for the second vote on Monday changed back to support the bill on Tuesday: State Reps. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin), Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna), Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), Kurt Masser (R-Columbia), Ron Miller (R-York), Duane Milne (R-Chester), Dan Moul (R-Adams), John Payne (R-Dauphin), Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) and Curtis Sonney (R-Erie).

Micozzie’s amendment included an increase in gas and vehicle taxes, as well as an increase to the threshold for prevailing wage. The funding includes $500 million for mass transit.

Transportation funding has long been a goal of Governor Tom Corbett’s and he released the following statement immediately after the vote.

“Today, the House of Representatives made a dramatic choice to invest in the future of Pennsylvania,” Corbett said in a statement. “My sincere thanks to Sam Smith for his leadership on this critical issue and to those House members who accepted the challenge to bring us one step closer to delivering a comprehensive transportation plan for the people of Pennsylvania.”

Citizen’s Alliance of Pennsylvania Executive Director Leo Knepper wasted no time releasing the conservative group’s harsh opinion of the House vote.

“It is beyond disappointing that the Pennsylvania House chose to adopt an amendment this evening extracting more funding from taxpayers. Pennsylvania families are forced to prioritize their spending to take care of their needs instead of their wants,” Knepper said.

The bill will face a final vote Wednesday in the House and will, presumably, move to the Senate. That chamber passed a broader bill this summer.

But Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) is likely to push for a removal of the prevailing wage language. In a press conference back in June, Costa laid out his firm position against changing prevailing wage.

“[We] talked about two very, very important issues, prevailing wage and right-to-work.  There’s no need for any of us to have any of those type of conversations now, or in the future as we go forward,” Costa said. “Senate Democrats don’t believe in addressing those issues.  We need to leave them alone and move forward as a Commonwealth along those lines.”


14 Responses

  1. And so I see the same stupidity being practised by MD Politicians has moved to PA. Where has all the money gone? Oh well. “Just give us more, and more, and more…….” SOS I think I’m going to Florida; good roads, good weather, no income tax. Now there’s a thought! Oh, and term limits.

  2. Congratulations to Rep. Tom Caltagirone of Reading in Berks Co. to support this bill. And to the rest of the schmucks in the House representing parts of Berks: how many bridges are weight restricted in your districts? Especially you Jim Cox, you have no problem supporting a huge tax shift on to the backs of working people for school taxes, if you had any gutsm you would include ALL income. At least this bill will provide many new jobs soon and well into the future, strangling schools will not.

  3. PA’s roads are terrible and we need to pay for repairs but this is not the way.
    I would rather have a sales tax increase so that public transportation users can contribute. Drivers should not have to support public transportation as much as we do,
    The Natural Gas Industry should also contribute to the highways.
    After all this I would consider a modest gas tax increase.
    Seeing how PA uses our taxes and fees have been used for roads in the past doesn’t give me any confidence that more money will fix anything

  4. The blame can not be attributed exclusively to Republicans, as members of both Parties voted for this union kick-back bill.

    Instead of re-prioritizing expenditures these apathetic and incompetent legislators just push the button to approve yet more taxpayers’ money being spent. Why not start with taking the $1.6 billion/yr in tax dollars spent on services provided to illegal aliens and apply that to cover the expenditures included in this transportation bill?

    Where did the hundreds of billions of tax dollars go that should have already been used to keep bridges, roads, and highways up to standards? Pennsylvanians should demand a forensic audit before any more taxes are imposed on an already struggling population.

  5. Again the Pennsylvania Republicans in the house have screwed the middle-class . Every tax dollar that will be collected will come out of the pocket of working class Pennsylvanians. The out of state trucking firms get a pass. They are the ones most responsible for destroying our roads and bridges. The out of state warehouse people also get a pass, but that is to be expected from Republicans who have given corporate natural gas companies the cheapest extraction taxes to do drilling in the United States and soon to give major corporations cutting timber in our forests big tax cuts. The Party of the Rich just keeps going forward while ordinary people pay all the bills. Makes you wonder what these people are thinking when they go to vote.

  6. Marguerite Quinn is only following orders. She has much imagination as drying Gray paint. She is a nincompoop and the voters who keep her on office are bigger nincompoops.

  7. Marguerite Quinn only follows orders and is like a revolving door. Drying gray paint has more imagination than she does. These are the kind of nincompoops that we have representing us. The voters in her district are even bigger nincompoops.

  8. Our lawmakers are doing their job, there are over 1,000 bridges in PA that are structurally deficient – now I will not worry about crossing the repaired ones with my Kids in the backseat.

    We need safe highways and bridges!! Good job General Assembly!

  9. BJ – that’s what the 28 cents a gallon gas tax increase is for – no liquor privatization necessary. It’s just a shame that the House Republicans rejected the 50-some odd proposals that the House Ds offered to avoid raising the gas tax as “non-starters”. It’s ridiculous that Shale drillers don’t have to pay taxes on their mineral rights like coal companies and every other group in PA does. Natural gas is the war on coal and the forgotten taxpayer is subsidizing it.

  10. Guzzardi is rushing-off to Manhattan but, prior to his departure, he “blasted” an e-mail that claimed [with a graphic of an overburdened camel] “The Forgotten Taxpayer is crushed with this last straw.”

    This is c/w concerns regarding Corbett’s campaign-promise precluding a tax-hike.

  11. If they don’t at least get liquor privatization done as payment for this monstrosity, it’s time to show the current crop of Republicans the door in the next couple primaries.

  12. This is absolutely a tax hike on the working class. Higher gas prices, higher food prices due to higher transportation costs. Hit us again Hit us again. Harder HARDER….

  13. Way to go Republicans. You’ve screwed us all harder, with far and away the highest tax rate on gasoline, increased license fees, increased registration fees… all while corporate warehouses and the trucking associated with them keep pounding the crap out of our roads.

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