Rendell pushes transportation build-out and oil tax

    Governor Rendell will try once again next week to sell lawmakers on the value of generating new tax revenue for transportation infrastructure.

    Rendell urged lawmakers to return to Harrisburg this summer to pass transportation bills.  They ignored him.  But on Monday, Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler will present the administration’s plan for transportation funding to a group of House and Senate leaders.

    The governor is keeping the details a secret for now, but concedes his proposal will “probably” include a tax on oil companies’ profits, which he’s been pushing for all summer.

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    He insists drivers wouldn’t pay the cost of the levy.

    “We’re going to make it a criminal offense to pass that on to the motorists at the pump – third degree misdemeanor,” he said. “Yes. It’s been done in other states, and we intend to do it here. We’re going to give the Attorney General audit powers. There are many ways to enforce it, and we will be extremely vigorous in enforcing it.

    Lawmakers have remained cool to Rendell’s suggestions, and most political observers don’t expect a vote on any of the transportation bills before the election.

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