Pa. House considers authorizing $1.6 billion in debt

    As lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House took up a bill authorizing additional state debt Monday evening, there were intransigent legislators and threats of shutdown in the mix.

    Unless lawmakers sign off on $1.6 billion of additional debt, an array of capital projects already under way will come to a standstill. Those projects include road and bridge construction as well as redevelopment efforts.

    Rep. Bill Adolph, Republican chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said his colleagues have received stern advice from the Corbett administration to approve the issuance of additional bonds.

    “This bill must be passed, must be passed. The governor’s budget office secretary, Charles Zogby, wrote to each legislator and explained the reasons why this bill has to be passed,” Adolph said.

    The letter warned that more than 1,500 projects are at risk, as well as the jobs that go along with them.

    Some lawmakers have been slower to support the bill, citing fiscal conservatism and an unwillingness to approve funding for projects they did not vote to approave.

    The state Senate passed the measure last June with nearly unanimous support.

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