Prevailing wage could be shaved as part of Pa. plan for road, bridge projects

    One thorny issue in the debate over road and bridge funding is whether to include reforms to prevailing wage laws, which set higher wages for public road construction in Pennsylvania.

    Supporters of prevailing wage say the law ensures public road repair jobs attract highly skilled workers. They don’t want to see changes to that in a bill that boosts road and bridge funding.

    But county commissioners from across the state are pushing for the money and the changes, even if the two things can’t clear the Legislature in one bill.

    Christian Leinbach, Berks County Commissioner and president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, says prevailing wage increases the cost of local capital projects by 20 to 40 percent.

    “Guess what? That includes bridges. And municipalities own bridges and counties own bridges,” he said Monday. “So, I think it’s very important to understand that there is a very real connection between coming up with dollars for transportation and looking at the impact of prevailing wage laws on the expenditure of those dollars.”

    Leinbach says whether the two issues are linked legislatively is up to lawmakers.

    The Corbett administration has resisted including prevailing wage chnages in a transportation funding bill.

    A PennDOT spokesman says that’s unlikely to change in the fall.

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