Statement by Senator Lisa Baker on Transportation Special Session

Harrisburg – Senator Lisa Baker issued the following statement regarding the Special Session on Transportation:

“Our area has its share of pressing transportation needs, several of which Governor Rendell cited in his speech. Without question, poor roads and deficient bridges are a hazard, from a safety standpoint and an economic standpoint.

It seems clear that the time Pennsylvania wasted chasing after the false hope of tolling I-80 has come with a high cost. What a few years ago was a substantial shortfall has become a much more serious problem in transportation funding.

Just as is the case with the state budget, the first concentration should be on finding ways to cut costs and capture efficiencies in operations. The special session will be a failure from the taxpayer interest if more spending is the only subject discussed.

Still, the push from state officials and interest groups will be for more revenue. There are two major issues tied up in this aspect of the debate – how to fairly develop additional revenue, and how to fairly distribute it across Pennsylvania’s regions and types of transportation.

With the economy still struggling, the traditional transportation funding fixes, such as higher gas taxes, increased fees, and even higher Turnpike tolls, would be economically irresponsible and publicly insupportable.

A hard look has to be taken at creative solutions, such as encouraging public-private partnerships, and a fresh look at ensuring accountability from SEPTA.

Disagreements over how best to generate funding and produce cost savings may be difficult to bridge, especially if the short-sighted regionalism that imposed Act 44 on us has not dissipated.”

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

Back to Top