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House Prepares for Transportation Vote

After a brief one week break, the state House may be nearing a vote on a comprehensive state transportation funding plan. 
Amendments to SB 1, which passed the Senate by a 45-5 vote in June, are in the works but divides remain on the final focus and overall cost.
The Senate approved bill would generate $2.5 billion annually for a wide variety of transportation projects from dirt and gravel roads to bridges, and transit systems. However, a number of House conservatives have generated amendments for a more narrow scope of critical bridge and road projects only.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has made it very clear that he opposes Senate Bill 1, but will allow it to be voted upon, possibly as early as next week. Turzai has recently said that he favors a narrowed approach of funding critical need projects and turning to private enterprise.
Last week the board that oversees public private partnership agreements approved to potentially contract with private firms to replace and maintain some structurally deficient bridges, but that will not solve the state’s larger problems which include more than just roads and bridges.
House Speaker Sam Smith, newly appointed House Majority Transportation Chair Nick Micozzie, and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, along with Governor Corbett, are now reported to be fully engaged in transportation funding discussions that would amend SB 1 to terms that may be agreeable to enough members in the House of both parties. A comprehensive plan will require votes of a significant number of Democrats as well as Republicans to pass.