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Pa. Senate Republicans want to stall transportation vote

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

A House committee plans a vote on a transportation funding bill early next week – but Senate Republicans say they aren’t prepared to tackle Governor Rendell’s pet issue until next year

The House Appropriations Committee is set to vote on a bill increasing licensing fees, gas taxes, and imposing a profits levy on oil companies.

In addition to bringing in new transportation revenue, the measure would spur public-private partnerships for roadways, encourage the merger of transportation authorities, and implement other reforms.

Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson agrees transportation funding is a critical issue, but says there isn’t enough time to pass a comprehensive measure this year.

He says caucus leaders want to wait until after the fall’s election.

“There is a sense that with the election so close, and with this being such a major issue, that it’s not something that’s appropriate for a lame duck governor to push through on his way out the door.”

Rendell and other Democrats warn lawmakers will stall next year’s road construction schedule if they don’t approve new funding as soon as possible.

Arneson argues PennDOT still has billions of dollars to work with, even without a new revenue measure.

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