During his mid-day speech to the joints session in Harrisburg, the Governor said he was not presenting a specific solution to the transportation funding crisis.
Instead he wanted to lay out options and urge lawmakers to come up with a plans the Governor could support to raise the billions of dollars needed for transportation projects in the state. The Governor used his speech to explain how the state has come to face the current billion dollar transportation funding deficit. The key, according to the governor, was the rejection by the federal government of the state plan for tolling of Interstate 80.
Governor Rendell is now calling on legislators to come up with some way to close the funding gap that is growing at the rate of one half billion dollars a year. Among the options listed by the Governor were higher gas taxes, increasing vehicle registration fees and developing private- public partnerships along the lines of the proposed leasing of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was rejected several years ago. While many legislators expressed concerns about raising taxes for transportation, others agreed there is a real problem looming. The Governor says it is up to the general assembly to find some way to raise the billions of dollars needed for transportation projects in the state.
In light of the current deficit the Governor says some action must be taken. The Governor pointed out that increasing transportation funding will mean not only better roads and mass transit, but will also lead to the creation of plenty of good jobs in all parts of state.