Capitol, State Capitol, Dome

Ask the Governor – May 2015

This is the May 2015 edition of Ask the Governor from Radio PA. This program was taped Friday morning, May 29th. The governor’s next appearance on Ask the Governor is scheduled for June 17th. Click below to listen to the entire program and watch for video clips from the show here on Topics for this month include:

-The Amtrak crash in Philadelphia
-The state budget talks
-Early childhood education
-Medical marijuana
-Natural gas pipelines
-The heroin epidemic
-Municipal pension obligations
-and much, much more.

Click the player below to listen to the entire audio program.

Radio PA Roundtable – May 15-17, 2015

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, recapping the deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia; a look at the fast and furious legislative action in Harrisburg this past week; and a preview of Tuesday’s primary elections and the prospects of the 12 candidates for three open seats on the state Supreme Court to connect with the voters.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:

Saving Amtrak Service through Western PA

Amtrak currently runs one train per day in each direction between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, but the so-called “Pennsylvanian” line was at risk of being slashed if the state didn’t pick up part of the tab.  Amtrak had been asking for $6.5-million dollars a year in state subsidies, but eventually agreed to a $3.8-million dollar deal with Governor Tom Corbett. 

However, the worrying isn’t over in western Pennsylvania just yet.  “The bottom line is we can pay for this service if the transportation funding package does pass,” says PennDOT press secretary Steve Chizmar, “if it doesn’t then it remains to be seen.” 

In February Governor Tom Corbett proposed a transportation funding plan that would raise $5.4-billion dollars over five years.  It included earmarked funds for intermodal transportation.  Many lawmakers were hoping for an even bigger bite at the apple and Senate Transportation Chairman John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) plans to introduce his transportation funding package next month. 

Pennsylvania kicks in $8 – 9-million dollars a year to help fund the Keystone East line, which provides Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.  It does not currently fund the Pennsylvanian line that runs west of Harrisburg. 

The $6.5-million dollar figure Amtrak initially proposed would have amounted to a state subsidy $27-per person, per trip.  The Corbett administration objected to that figure, and Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch called it an “unfair assessment” during last month’s budget hearings. 

On its way from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvanian makes stops in Lewistown, Huntingdon, Altoona, Johnstown and Greensburg.