Pa. Dem leader opposes linking support for roads funding to liquor-privatization votes

    Rumblings of horse trading, linking issues, and leverage have the Pennsylvania Senate’s minority leader up in arms.

    Democrat Jay Costa had some strong words for House Republicans Wednesday. There is “no doubt,” he said, that the GOP is going to withhold support for a transportation infrastructure funding package as leverage to pass a plan to privatize the state’s liquor system.

    “What we don’t agree to and strongly object to is the fact that this — what I’ll call the obstinate leadership in the house — is insisting that we tie transportation funding and wine and spirit privatization,” he said. “Folks, I gotta tell you, we believe that it’s wrong, it’s not appropriate, and we should not be doing it.”

    Costa, D-Allegheny, says he objects to such a move because polls show voters think transportation is a more important issue.

    Some House Republicans have supported putting whatever revenue the state gets from privatizing its wine and spirits system toward transportation funding.

    But any public indication of linkage stops there.

    The House GOP spokesman says there’s no effort to tie the fates of the two issues.

    Some lawmakers and staffers suggest it may be a tacit understanding more than an explicit plan.

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