By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Democrats in the state House are crying foul over a Republican amendment that would significantly water down a Senate-passed bill to raise new money for roads, bridges and mass transit.
The amendment being drafted by Republicans who control the House would not only raise less funds for transportation overall than the Senate bill, it would, after the first five years at least, raise less than even what Governor Corbett has proposed. And when fully implemented after ten years, it would provide fewer state dollars for mass transit than either the Senate or Corbett proposal.
“Mass transit should be treated equally importance as roads and bridges. We don’t feel that that’s reflected in this amendment,” says Mike McGeehan of Philadelphia, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee. “At this late date, we now get a Republican amendment that is totally out of left field.” McGeehan also opposes mass transit privatization initiatives that are included in the GOP amendment.
Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republican leader, says, “What was discussed was more money for public transportation, money for roads and bridges. We think we put together a realistic plan.”
State lawmakers are trying to wrap up work on transportation and other major issues before a scheduled summer recess on Sunday.