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Politicians Put Heat On Corbett For Transportation Funding

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Secretary Barry Schoch testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

Secretary Barry Schoch testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – During budget hearings last week, state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continued to pressure Governor Corbett to address transportation funding, as the PennDOT secretary expressed concerns about Pennsylvania’s aging bridges.

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voiced more frustration with inaction on transportation funding. Pat Vance, a Republican from Cumberland County, is particularly concerned about bridges.

“Do we really need a mass tragedy of a bridge collapsing, is that the only way we’re going to get action?”

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch responded that bridges are inspected every two years and would be closed before becoming dangerous. But he acknowledged that a special program that helped reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges is ending.

And, he added, “What scares me is not so much the under 5,000 structurally deficient [bridges] – it’s the 14-thousand of our bridges have aged to the point where we call them weak.”

Those bridges, he says, are headed for structural deficiency. Governor Corbett, meanwhile, says he will offer a transportation proposal but won’t say when.

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