Corbett puts pen to $2.4 billion transit bill in Norristown

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett visited Norristown Monday afternoon for a ceremonial bill signing. The governor put his pen to the $2.4 billion transportation package passed in Harrisburg last week.

    Corbett tacitly acknowledged months of uncertainty over whether the initiative he backed could gain enough support to make it through the Legislature.

    “After a great deal of hard work,” he said, “we have a transportation funding bill that will provide a sustainable source of revenue for our roads, for our bridges and for our transit system.”

    At Corbett’s side, state Sen. John Rafferty Jr. gestured to the road behind him.

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    “From about 6:30 in the morning to 9:30 in the morning,” Rafferty said, “this is the largest parking lot east of the Mississippi, where you have [Routes] 363 and 422 trying to converge on a two-lane bridge that does about 80,000 to 100,000 cars a day, Monday through Friday.”

    “I’m happy to say we’re going to make some changes because of this transportation bill,” he concluded.

    The funding plan finally passed through the Legislature with largely bipartisan support. Rural and suburban Republicans concerned about road safety reached a consensus with urban Democrats looking for help for increasingly cash-strapped public transit systems.

    “There’s barely a spot in Pennsylvania, except in our deeply forested areas, that will not see an improvement because of this legislation,” noted Corbett.

    The legislation will raise revenue for the infrastructure projects by increasing fees for motorists and uncapping the oil franchise tax, which could potentially raise gas prices at the pump over five years by up to 25 cents a gallon.

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