By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A key legislative staffer involved in negotiations over a transportation funding bill says he’s optimistic a bipartisan compromise will be ready for a vote next week in the Pennsylvania House.

Dave Thomas, chief counsel to the speaker of the House, says the House transportation funding package as it stands now would be slightly less than what the state Senate approved in June.  It would involve an increase in wholesale gasoline taxes and likely increases in fees for commercial vehicles.

“I’m optimistic,” he said today.  “I mean, I think based on where conversations are with the Democrats and having a plan come together, again, that’s bipartisan, I think that’s always a good thing. I know that there’s this other big issue out there, but I think it’s real.”

The other big issue to which Thomas refers is the majority House Republicans’ demand for reforms of the state’s prevailing wage law.

Meanwhile, he says, the desire by Philadelphia Democrats to link transportation to a cigarette tax hike for city schools has not been a part of the discussions, and likely will not be.

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