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The State Senate voted today to approve a transportation funding plan that Senate leaders said would provide a critical investment in Pennsylvania’s aging infrastructure system.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) and Senate Transportation Committee John Rafferty (R-44) said passage of the legislation is crucial to public safety and will help create more than 50,000 jobs.

House Bill 1060 is similar to Senate Bill 1, which Rafferty sponsored and was passed by the Senate in June.  It follows the major recommendations made by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

“We worked hard with PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch and a long list of stakeholders to get the word out that this funding is crucial to addressing critical safety issues in communities across the state – from structurally deficient bridges, to crumbling roads and congested highways,” Rafferty said.  “The Senate Transportation Committee held public hearings across the state and the message we heard time and again was that there is a major cost if we do nothing.”

Pennsylvania has more structurally deficient bridges – nearly 4,500 – than any other state in the nation, and 23 percent of its 44,000 miles of state-owned roads are in poor condition.

Senator Pileggi noted that it has been 16 years since Pennsylvania enacted a meaningful transportation funding program.

“A safe and reliable transportation network is a core function of state government and necessary for a strong economy,” Pileggi said.  “It is the General Assembly’s duty to provide funding for our infrastructure, and today the Senate is doing its part to meet that important responsibility.”

Senator Scarnati said the Senate’s strong and bipartisan support for the legislation indicated how important the measure is to public safety and Pennsylvania’s future.

“Legislators from rural, suburban and urban districts all across the state joined together to support this plan because it will help to fix aging bridges, unsafe roads, rail lines, airports and mass transit systems in every community in our Commonwealth,” Scarnati said.  “It represents a comprehensive and thought-out approach to our transportation needs and will get projects moving now.”

The transportation funding package will raise revenue through several sources, including adjusting outdated vehicle driver registration fees for inflation, increasing fines, uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax over five years and modernizing many PennDOT services for cost savings.

“A safe and reliable transportation system is much more than a matter of personal convenience, and I think Pennsylvanians recognize that,” Rafferty said. “This funding plan is about jobs, economic development, quality of life and safety.  It’s about investing in our future.”

CONTACTS:

Senator Rafferty – Nate Spade (717) 787-1377

Senator Scarnati – Drew Crompton (717) 787-7084

Senator Pileggi – Erik Arneson (717) 787-4712