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Sen. Costa: Key Transportation Legislation Clears Senate

Plan funds roads, bridges, mass transit projects -- creates jobs, improves safety

Pittsburghers for Public Transit "Rumble in the Capitol" Rally :: June 4, 2013

Click here to read transcription. Pittsburghers for Public Transit "Rumble in the Capitol" Rally Remarks :: June 4, 2013

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a robust transportation plan that provides dedicated, sustainable and responsible funding to address Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit needs.  While generating an additional $2.5 billion annually once fully implemented, Senate Bill 1 would also fund mass transit operations while sparking critical job growth across Pennsylvania.

Senate Democrats have been strong advocates for a comprehensive transportation plan for years.  Joining concerned riders from Southwestern Pennsylvania, I was honored to be part of the Pittsburghers for Public Transit rallies at the Capitol in Harrisburg recently.  At this event, I voiced my support for the fight for continued funding.  Without access to safe and reliable transit routes, many hard-working Pennsylvanians would be left without a way to get to work, to the doctor or simply across town to purchase groceries for their family.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit "Rumble in the Rotunda" Rally :: February 11, 2013

Pittsburghers for Public Transit "Rumble in the Rotunda" Rally :: February 11

The unfortunate reality of an aging transportation system is that the costs are ultimately born by the motorists.  According to the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials, drivers pay for poor roads twice:  additional vehicle operating costs and then in higher repairs and reconstruction costs.  While these facts speak for themselves, my colleagues and I remained committed to advancing a comprehensive package that would be a key step toward addressing safety, improving our transportation infrastructure and maintaining the important transit programs on which so many people rely.  Senate Bill 1 does just that. 

This bill includes a number of initiatives sought by Senate Democrats, including a larger intermodal fund of up to $130 million, $2 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects, rail passenger grants of up to $5.5 million, rail freight grant increases of up to $10 million and a host of other initiatives. 

The dedicated funding provided through SB 1 will help avert devastating mass transit cuts that loom.  In the Pittsburgh area, the Port Authority will be staring in the face of drastic route reductions if the funds are not available. 

Our plan is funded by removing the cap on the Oil Franchise Tax and increasing car, truck and all motor vehicle registration fees and permits, which will be phased-in over a three year period.

Senator Costa's Remarks on Senate Bill 1

Click here to read transcription of interview. Senator Costa's Remarks on Senate Bill 1

The passage of Senate Bill 1 signifies that we are serious about finding a permanent solution to meet our transportation needs – one that will build, repair and maintain roads and bridges, create jobs and improve safety.  We have to recognize the severity of the situation -- Pennsylvania has more than 25,000 state-owned bridges, with nearly 4,500 rated structurally deficient.  According to a recent report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 1,364 bridges face weight restrictions if action is not taken soon.  Many are main travel arteries including the Liberty Bridge, Lincoln Highway, Saxonburg Boulevard and others.   In a typical year, 300 new bridges are deemed deficient, putting families at risk.

While SB 1 will provide much needed resources for road and bridge repair and maintenance, it will also give us the opportunity to put Pennsylvanians back to work.  Without question, this landmark legislation will create more than 60,000 jobs for hard-working Pennsylvania families helping to move so many people struggling to find work from the unemployment line to family sustaining jobs.  Senate Democrats firmly believe the movement of this legislation from the Senate to the House of Representatives sends a strong message that it’s time to advance this initiative forward toward positive results for Pennsylvania families.

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