Auditor general makes a pitch for repairs to Pa. infrastructure

    Pennsylvania’s top auditor is calling on the Legislature to make transportation funding a priority this fall.

    Auditor General Jack Wagner crisscrossed the state this year, getting media coverage along the way as he pointed out visibly deteriorating bridges badly in need of repair.

    In case anyone missed that tour, Wagner says he’s sending a DVD to industry and labor groups, in the hopes they’ll help lobby lawmakers to pass transportation funding legislation this fall.

    The seven-minute DVD shows television coverage of his stops in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Scranton to labor and industry groups. Wagner says he hopes they help him lobby state lawmakers.

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    “The General Assembly is coming back into session next week and it is our hope that this issue will be moved up in terms of its priority in the fall session,” Wagner said. “There is no public safety issue here in Pennsylvania that’s more important than addressing our infrastructure problems.”

    “You are 19 times more likely to pass a structurally deficient bridge than you are to pass a McDonald’s,” he says.

    Last summer, a governor-appointed panel came up with a variety of legislative recommendations for finding additional funding to fix up the state’s roads, bridges, and transit systems.

    The suggestions aren’t so politically simple, though — one of them would result in a higher tax on gasoline.

    Gov. Tom Corbett isn’t pressing for a transportation bill in the Legislature’s limited fall session.To that, Wagner says, “opinions can change.”

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