The governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission released its final report in August, and House Democratic Appropriations Chair Joe Markosek (D-Westmoreland/Allegheny) says it’s been ignored for too long. “I’m just flabbergasted that he’s ignored transportation to the extent that he’s ignored it,” Markosek told us after this week’s budget address. “It’s just almost unbelievable in my opinion.”
Pennsylvania faces an annual transportation funding gap that tops $3-billion dollars. While the new spending plan does not address the matter, Governor Tom Corbett did call it a priority in his budget speech on Tuesday:
“This is not a budget item. It is too large for that. Transportation must be confronted as its own distinct and separate topic. This problem has grown for the past several decades and it will not be solved overnight. But, whatever solution we enact must be a lasting one.”
“I have spent significant time considering this issue with my transportation team and developed some workable solutions. However those solutions will only be possible with your input, assistance and support.”
Senate Republican Appropriations Chair Jake Corman (R-Center) recently put the TFAC recommendations in to bill form in hopes of spurring action on the transportation funding crisis. But he stresses that this type of funding falls outside of the General Fund and can be addressed at any time – not necessarily during budget season. “We’ll be waiting for the governor to make his proposal… I look forward to that proposal, and once that comes forward I’m sure we’ll negotiate something that works for everybody,” Corman said during a Q&A with the media following Tuesday’s speech.