In a sudden turn of events, on Nov. 19 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a transportation-funding proposal it rejected a day before.
By a 104-95 vote, lawmakers moved the $2.3 billion proposal on to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure soon. A final vote could come as early as Nov. 21.
The bill would increase gas taxes and motor vehicle license fees to generate $1.65 billion for roads and bridges over the next five years. The remaining funds would be used for mass transit. At the center of controversy was an amendment that called for an increase in the threshold related to union-scale wages. Currently it deals with projects costing at least $25,000, but under the new bill that could rise to $100,000. The amendment could cause some tension when the Senate takes on the bill, but Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said what the House approved is close to what his chamber was seeking.
“Today, the House of Representatives made a dramatic choice to invest in the future of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement. “In doing so, they have set the stage for the safety of our children and the economic prosperity of Pennsylvania.”
“As many as 50,000 jobs could be created to tackle the growing list of dangerous roads and bridges plaguing the state and stifling economic development,” said Rep. Dwight Evans.