What the candidates for Pa. governor say about the transportation spending plan

Al Plubell, of Dover, working for Stewart & Tate Construction rolls patches in the 200 block of West Jackson Street Monday August 19, 2013 , part of the preparation for eventual repaving. (FILE)

Al Plubell, of Dover, working for Stewart & Tate Construction rolls patches in the 200 block of West Jackson Street Monday August 19, 2013 , part of the preparation for eventual repaving. (FILE)

The four Democratic candidates for governor have mixed views on the major transportation spending plan that Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law in November.

Here’s what they said about the issue in a questionnaire we sent to all of the candidates:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, of Montgomery County, said:

The transportation bill that was signed into law in November was necessary. But we need to do much more than simply repair our crumbling infrastructure. We need to make transformational investments to build a 21st century transportation system in Pennsylvania. As governor, I would launch Build PA, a new statewide infrastructure bank to support game-changing infrastructure that puts thousands of people to work and lays the groundwork for growth in the decades to come.

Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary, of Chester County, said:

Before a bill was passed in 2013, I called for the passage of a comprehensive transportation bill that will create jobs by rebuilding Pennsylvania’s crumbling roads and bridges and fully fund mass transit.

While I approved the funding for infrastructure and mass transit, I opposed the Governor’s insistence on pushing his own ideology, and insistence on weakening Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage laws. I also believe that Governor Corbett waited too long to address our crumbling infrastructure which only increased the price tag on this legislation.

Adequately funding public transportation is essential to growing our economy and putting Pennsylvanians back to work. By underfunding public transportation, we constrain thousands of Pennsylvanians’ opportunities to find and keep jobs.

State Treasurer Rob McCord said:

While I am glad the commonwealth now has additional resources to invest in its aging transportation infrastructure, I was disappointed that Gov. Corbett took nearly three years to make the issue a priority and sign the bill. That delay cost the state $1 million a day, or nearly $1 billion.

Tom Wolf, a York County businessman and former state revenue secretary, said:

The debate between Governor Corbett and the Republicans legislators this past fall was inadequate and unfair. It devolved into whether we should we fix our bridges or not, and resulted in the enactment of the highest gas tax in the nation, which will eventually cost drivers more than $2.50 per week.

We are narrowing our thinking by focusing on what we are going to do tomorrow. Obviously, it’s unacceptable Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges, and our drivers spend billions of dollars each year repairing their cars because of the poor state of our roads.

The questions we should be asking are what do we want Pennsylvania to be, and what does a 21st century infrastructure look like? For Pennsylvania to be a leader today and in the future, we need to expand our thinking and start focusing on innovative developments and modern telecommunications systems.

Republicans

Robert Guzzardi, a Montgomery County businessman who is challenging Corbett, is opposed. He said:

Act 89 of 2013, clearly, violates Article VIII, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as well as Articles III, Section 1 and Section 3. It imposes a $2.4 billion dollar tax increase on motorists, truckers and the trucking industry.

He also said the initiative was driven by “campaign contributing crony hacks” who would benefit “from billions of highway contracts.”

In his February budget address, Corbett pointed to the transportation plan as success. Here’s a look at his prepared remarks for the budget address:

For years, this state needed a sustained, large-scale investment in transportation.  And somehow it just never got done. We did things a little differently, and we got a different result.  Republican and Democrat.  Labor and Industry.  We all worked together to put the funding crisis behind us and do what is right for the people of Pennsylvania.

 The construction season coming up will give us just a glimpse of the benefits. And far into the future, Pennsylvania will have the good roads, safe bridges, and reliable public transit that our people expect and deserve.

 

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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