Rendell tells transportation bill supporters to lobby harder

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told transportation advocates in Philadelphia they need to push harder to get a multi-billion dollar road, bridge and mass-transit package through the legislature in Harrisburg.

“I wish that I could tell you that everyone in Harrisburg bases their votes on what’s good for Pennsylvania,” the balding political veteran told a room full of transportation professionals Wednesday night, “but I wish I could comb my hair in a pompadour tomorrow too.”

Supporters of transit funding are hustling to get votes in line before a bill comes up in the Pennsylvania House.

The Senate already has passed a transportation funding bill. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County), not a supporter, has indicated he’s ready to bring a funding package to a vote as soon as next week.

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Those familiar with the negotiations in Harrisburg say informal talks are ongoing to build support, involving Gov.Tom Corbett, legislators and trade unions.

Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery County) said getting the bill pass is considered a heavy lift because the proposal would raise gas taxes and fees on motorists.

“It’s a scary thing for a legislator to come out in favor of any of the transportation bills because they are all going to be termed the largest tax increase in the history of the world,” Harper said.

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