Four caucus leaders own success or failure of transportation bill
The General Assembly is in the second week of a two-week General Election recess, and as you probably know, negotiations on a transportation funding measure are continuing. Legislative leaders said they would take up the measure after they return the week of Nov. 11.
The construction industry and the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition are optimistic that an agreement will be reached, given the positive comments of leaders of the four legislative caucuses last week.
At the top of the list among issues that remain to be resolved is prevailing wage reform. The question is whether a reform measure would attract enough Republican votes to carry the funding measure in the House, then through concurrence with the Senate, or whether such a condition would lose most or all Democratic support.
Phasing out Act 44, which diverts Turnpike revenue to non-Turnpike transportation projects, and increasing license and registration fees also remain part of the discussion.
Neither the industry nor the Coalition has a position on prevailing wage, and members of both groups are urging their legislative representatives simply to support whatever agreement will produce a comprehensive, multimodal solution to Pennsylvania’s transportation funding needs.
“Given where things stand at the moment, it appears an agreement is within reach,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “But, as we approach the end of this year and the beginning of the 2014 election year, time is running short. If we don’t have an agreement this fall, it may be another two years or longer before the General Assembly takes this up again. It is crucial that legislators act now, or the problems will become exponentially worse before they can ever get better.”