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State House OKs transportation funding plan

By , - Last modified: November 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM
File photo of bridge construction project
File photo of bridge construction project

After being on life support just two days ago, a transportation funding plan is back on track after a Tuesday night vote on a key amendment that cleared the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The plan calls for an increase of funding of $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion over the next five years – and continuing upward with inflation – to pay for repairs to the state's highways and bridges.

The funding comes from the elimination of the cap on the tax on the wholesale price of fuel, which had been at $1.25 per barrel since 1997. This likely will result in increases in the price at the pump, either by a few cents or possibly by more than 20 cents per gallon.

The plan also increases most fees related to vehicle ownership.

This version of the bill also included a hike in the threshold at which prevailing wages would apply on a transportation construction project.

Prevailing wages will need to be paid only on projects of $100,000 or more, instead of the existing $25,000 threshold.

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Allentown, noted that the House vote was on the amendment. The Senate still must vote to approve the change.

"But the prospects look very, very good," he said. He said he expects a final approval on the funding could come by Thursday.

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration had been lobbying strongly for the funding legislation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been saying more funds are needed to repair roads and bridges that are in a state of dangerous disrepair.

"This is very important legislation," said Richard Kirkpatrick, acting PennDOT press secretary.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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