Pa. officials join in calling on Congress to come up with more funds for roads and bridges

On what’s been dubbed National Transportation Infrastructure Day, Pennsylvania and federal officials gathered outside Philadelphia’s City Hall to rally for more funding.

State Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards touted Pennsylvania’s bipartisan effort to pass Act 89, a five-year, $2.4 billion transportation improvement bill in 2013 that she estimated provides over 60,000 jobs. Thursday morning, she called for federal leaders to do the same.

“Pennsylvania gets it,” said Richards to a cheering crowd of more than 100 in Dilworth Park. “Other states don’t get it. And other states need to know they need to put up this vote, and we need to get this federal long-term funding so we can plan for the future.”

The commonwealth relies on $1.6 billion in U.S. funds for more than 40 percent of its capital transportation programs, Richards said.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, didn’t disagree.

“Pennsylvania did its job,” said Republican Shuster of Allegheny County. “Now it’s the federal government’s turn to step up and make sure we have a fully funded, long-term infrastructure bill.”

Similar rallies took place across the country.

Multiple transportation bills lacking majority support have stalled in Congress, but Shuster said he hoped to have a seven-year funding bill passed by the end of the year.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell offered advice that was more specific and direct.

“Stand up, man up, woman up, and get this done,” said Rendell.

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