Pa. House Passes Amendment In Transportation Funding Deal

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) — A day after voting it down twice, the state House Tuesday night passed an amendment that will pump major new funding into roads, bridges and mass transit in Pennsylvania.

Since what was approved by the House was an amendment, there are still more steps for the transportation funding package. But nonetheless, the effort has now cleared a major roadblock after an impasse that lasted months.

In fact, the plan now is to have the Senate amend similar language into to a House bill already sitting in the Senate and then send the bill back to the House for a final vote.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says the idea is to speed up the process.

“Ideally, we’re going to finish this week. They’re in session this week and then, as you say, they’re off until after the holiday. So, ideally, we get this finished this week and get it to the Governor’s desk and he signs it,” Schoch said.

Opponents of the measure, meanwhile, complained bitterly that the transportation funding package was voted down twice before passing the House on a third try.

“I didn’t think that the message conveyed to the caucus was that we would continue to vote it up or down until it passed, Mr. Speaker. A $2 billion dollar tax increase,” Butler County Republican Daryl Metcalfe said.

The transportation funding would be paid for by lifting a cap on wholesale gasoline taxes over a five year period and by modest increases in license and registration fees on passenger vehicles. There would be steeper fee increases for commercial vehicles. There would also be an increase in the fines for some moving violations.

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