By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania state legislature’s approval of major new funding for roads, bridges, and mass transit was one of the major stories of 2013.
A lot of political analysts thought it couldn’t happen — especially after the push for a transportation funding package fell apart in the hours before the legislature’s long summer recess.
But the issue returned in the fall, and the state House took what state representative Kate Harper (R-Montgomery County) believed was a last-chance vote on a night in mid-November.
“I really think it’s that critical, and I really think it’s a do-or-die moment,” she said.
But the moment was lost; the transportation plan was defeated — only to be resurrected and approved a night later, to the chagrin of House Republican Daryl Metcalfe, who saw the measure as a tax increase.
“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,” he said.
When fully implemented over five years, the measure is expected to generate more than $2 billion per year for transportation.