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Pennsylvania transportation bill passes state House

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The state transportation bill that originally stalled Monday night in the House passed Tuesday night by a vote of 104 to 95. The $ 2.3 billion bill would fund PennDot construction projects such as major bridge repairs, replacement of some bridges such as Crum Creek Bridge in Swarthmore which will cost an estimated $60 million, and the continued use of some SEPTA rail lines.
The amendment was authored House Transportation Committee Chairman Nick Micozzie, R-163 of Upper Darby who took over the Chair after the death of Rep. Dick Hess, R-78 who passed away in September.
In response of the bill passage, Governor Tom Corbett stated his satisfaction with how the House responded after the original bill failed to pass on Monday night. Governor Corbett stated, “Voting for a comprehensive transportation plan will keep our transportation system safe and efficient, improve our state’s economy, and improve the quality of life for our 12 million-plus residents.”
One part of the plan that has come under fire is the uncapping of the oil franchise tax which could result in about a 28 cent per gallon increase over the next 5 years on gasoline. In Micozzie’s bill there is the elimination of the 12 cent state retail tax that is applied at the gas pump now.
For Governor Corbett the push for this transportation bill was of great need. The state has more than 4000 structurally deficient bridges and has had to put weight restrictions on over 1000 bridges due to the fact the bridges need construction.
Another supporter of the bill is PennDot Secretary Barry Schock who crossed the state looking for support of the bill. Mr. Schock stated, “The House has taken action and we look forward to Senate agreement and the Governor’s signature on the finished product.”
The bill still has to go through the Senate, then back to the House, but it is expected to pass more easily then what the House went through with the bill.

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