State Representative Rick Geist (R-Altoona) has been appointed to serve as Republican chairman of Pennsylvania's House Transportation Committee for a seventh consecutive term, as the Legislature faces a transportation funding crisis in the 2007-2008 legislative session.
For the first time since 1995, Geist will be minority rather than majority chairman. Rep. Joseph Markosek (D-Allegheny) will serve as majority chairman of the committee.
"Transportation and its myriad issues have historically been and continue to be non-partisan in nature because the state of the transportation system impacts everyone," Geist said. "It's no secret that Pennsylvania's transportation system is facing a funding crisis. We're staring at a $1.7 billion deficit as far as financial resources verses immediate needs. Roads and bridges are deteriorating, and mass-transit systems are struggling to stay in operation.
"So, it is imperative now more than ever that this committee work together to find solutions to serious problems. This will be the most critical legislative session in memory for Pennsylvania's transportation infrastructure. Knowing that Chairman Markosek has previously served on this committee with distinction, I expect we can build on a cooperative relationship."
Geist, who is now in his 15th term representing the 79th Legislative District, also will serve on the House Commerce Committee for the 2007-2008 legislative session. The focus of the House Commerce Committee is on legislation related to business and economic development in the Commonwealth.