Transportation funding linked to Pa. wage concessions from unions

    Negotiations over a transportation funding plan for Pennsylvania are alive in the state House — for now.

    Seeking to extend that life, House Speaker Sam Smith says there’s just one thing left to try.Working through the head of the state Department of Transportation, Smith has floated the idea to labor unions that the only way to resurrect a roughly $2 billion bill is to make changes to the state’s prevailing wage law.

    While labor unions are some of the most dogged supporters of passing a hefty transportation funding proposal, they oppose reducing the wages offered for public works projects including road construction and maintenance.

    Republicans are largely for it.

    Smith, a Republican, said the talks are being facilitated by the PennDOT secretary, who asked Smith for ideas to resurrect transportation talks.

    Meanwhile, House Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai said whatever vote might have been scheduled for this week is being postponed for another two weeks.

    A plan to fund roads, bridges, mass transit, and more stalled in the House in June.

    If the unions won’t make concessions, transportation negotiations really will be dead until after the 20-14 election, Smith said.

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