FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee
Democratic Policy Committee examines Pa’s transportation funding crisis
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 11 – Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from transportation officials at a public hearing at Point Park University today regarding the magnitude of the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure funding crisis, Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said.
State Reps. Paul Costa and Jake Wheatley, both D-Allegheny, requested the hearing and served as its co-chairs.
The hearing considered transportation funding shortfalls in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania as well as the outlook for transportation infrastructure statewide. Special attention was paid to the recommendations made by the governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission (TFAC) in its’ report issued last August.
“Transportation is the number one priority of the citizens of Pennsylvania, from the pothole in their neighborhood to sitting in gridlock on the bypass to reduced bus and train service,” Sturla said. “The governor's TFAC laid out a reasonable start to addressing the issue. Unfortunately, Governor Corbett and House Republicans have turned a cold shoulder to the needs of the citizens and continue to ignore the issue. It is time to act."
“It is very important that we address the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems in the state,” Costa said. “We are at a critical point and I don’t know how much longer we can go without proper maintenance and upgrades. But if we don’t come to some sort of a funding agreement soon, we are putting Pennsylvania motorists at risk. We just can’t wait any longer.”
Wheatley added, “The economy and folks’ ability to live full and quality lives depend on the governor and the Republican majorities in Harrisburg to wake up, pull their collective heads out of the clouds of national no-tax pledges, vouchers and state-store privatization and instead act on the recommendations of the previous and current governors’ transportation advisory task forces. We have no more time to waste -- we must act now!”
Those testifying at the hearing included Barry Schoch, P.E., secretary; Dan Cessna, District 11 executive;
Steve Bland, chief executive officer, Port Authority of Allegheny County; James McCarville, executive director, Port of Pittsburgh Commission; Mariann Geyer, vice president for external affairs, Point Park University; Ken Zapinski, senior vice president of energy & infrastructure, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership; Richard Barcaskey, executive director, Constructors Association of Western PA; Gary Hoffman, P.E., executive director, PA Asphalt Pavement Association; Joe Kirk, executive director, The Mon Valley Progress Council Inc.; Chris Sandvig, regional policy manager, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group; and Pat McMahon, president, ATU Local 85.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.