Pa. governor pushes lawmakers to return to work early

Rendell still wants a solution to $3.5 billion funding gap

News Bloomberg Businessweek July 20, 2010
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Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is asking state lawmakers to cut their summer vacation short so they can resume a funding boot camp.

Back in May, when the FHWA denied Pennsylvania’s application to toll I-80 a second time, Rendell called the Senate and House of Representatives into a special session to find a way to recover the $472 million a year in transportation funding that was lost with the FHWA rejection.

Now, Rendell wants lawmakers back on the job by Aug. 23 so they can finally close the funding gap—which stands at $3.5 billion. He is expected to meet with the Senate Transportation Committee on July 21 where he will provide members with lists of projects their districts will miss out on if a solution is not found. Rendell also said he will show the committee additional road and bridge projects that will be possible when the program is fully funded.

Rendell has been in favor of instituting a number of fee and tax increases to make up the difference.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, however, has said that the transportation funding debates might be postponed until January 2011, when a new governor is elected into office. Rendell’s tenure will end this year. The frontrunner in the race for Rendell’s replacement, Republican Tom Corbett, has signed a pledge to oppose any tax spikes, but may consider other fee increases.

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