Pennsylvania cannot afford to keep waiting for a solution to the state’s transportation funding problems, say two Senate Democrats.
State Senators John Wozniak (D-Cambria County) and Tim Solobay (D-Washington County) are asking Governor Tom Corbett and the legislature to focus on finding more revenue to support the state’s infrastructure problems when they return to Harrisburg for a new session in January.
Senator Tim Solobay said fixing transportation infrastructure is a matter of safety.
“Before some major disaster occurs, it’s occurred in other areas across the country, we need to move forward,” said Solobay. “Several years ago we had some collapses on roadways and bridges in Western Pennsylvania. That told a story I think that we were long needed to move forward.”
According to a 2011 study by Transportation for America, a D.C.-based advocacy group there are almost 6,000 structurally deficient bridges throughout Pennsylvania and 8,000 miles of highway rated as “poor.”
Wozniak, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said transportation and infrastructure are fundamental to the state’s economic health.
“We have an opportunity to create tens upon tens of thousands of good construction jobs, at the same time stimulate our economy,” said Wozniak. “Our economy is based on our transportation system, it once was king, I think it’s important that we make it foremost and first in the nation again.”
Wozniak said they are “coming to the table with our cards open.” He said transportation funding has always been dealt with in a bipartisan way.
Both Senators cited a 2011 report by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Committee to showcase new ways of raising revenue.
The report recommended generating $2.5 billion for infrastructure repair over a five-year period. Recommendations to fund the infrastructure changes included nixing the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax and raising fees on drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations.
Governor Corbett has hinted that he is planning to reveal a transportation funding plan in the spring.