Slow going for Pa. transportation funding plan

    A transportation funding bill isn’t expected to come up for a vote in the Pennsylvania House until November — at the earliest.

    Word came Tuesday from the state House’s top Republican, Speaker Sam Smith, that talks are still in progress on a proposal to generate additional revenue for roads, bridges and mass transit.

    When asked if he’s optimistic the bill will get a House vote next month, Smith said he doesn’t know.

    “I can’t answer,” he said. “We’re just going to plow ahead and see where it goes.”

    The state Senate passed a $2.5 billion transportation funding plan in May, but talks on the measure sputtered and stopped in the House before summer.

    The only thing reviving them was a suggestion to secure concessions from the trade unions pushing for infrastructure funding.

    The proposed changes would bring down the pay for contractors on certain public works projects in an effort to woo Republican votes.

    Smith said unions are still divided on that offering, though, which could cost Democratic votes. In the meantime, he said, Republican and Democratic legislative leaders are discussing the details of a roughly $2.2 billion funding bill.

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