Sen. Stack, Lawmakers Petition for Special Session on Transportation
HARRISBURG, May 22, 2012 — As Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure crisis continues without a long-term funding solution, state Sen. Mike Stack and several of his Democratic colleagues today called for a special session to resolve this statewide issue.
Stack will begin circulating a petition in the General Assembly to call on the governor to convene a Special and Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly for the purpose of considering transportation infrastructure improvement and funding. The petition will need the signatures of a majority of senators and majority of representatives.
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“We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of Gov. Corbett’s Pennsylvania Transportation Advisory Committee’s report on the deteriorating condition of our infrastructure. Since that time, the governor has done nothing with this information, so we must take action,” Stack said. “I know we can get those petition signatures because this isn’t a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is a crisis that affects every single Pennsylvanian.
“Every day we put off finding a long-term solution to this crisis, we are missing an opportunity to boost our economy and create jobs, and we are also playing a dangerous game with the safety of our motorists and pedestrians,” Stack said.
One-fifth of state-maintained roads, one-fourth of bridges are structurally deficient, and transit agencies statewide face budgetary constraints.
State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon) pointed out that the advisory commission’s report states there will be “dire consequences” for the safety of motorists and Pennsylvania’s economy in the absence of transportation funding.
“In Northeastern Pennsylvania, unemployment is higher than the national average and our roads and bridges are deteriorating. The lack of action is holding back our economy and threatening our safety,” Yudichak said. “We need to act so that we can move the economy forward and protect the safety of Pennsylvanians. We need a special session.”
In 2010, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Pennsylvania a D- for the state of our roads and a D- for the state of our transit systems on its infrastructure report card.
“Motorists should not feel like they are putting their lives at risk every time they get in their cars, and public transit riders should not be denied access to their bus and train routes, but that’s exactly what is happening right now. Every day that the state puts off repairs to roads and bridges is one day closer to potential disaster,” said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-Phila.). “We have to act now, and this petition is an immediate step toward working on a solid long-term solution.”
“The governor said during the budget address that transportation is outside of the budget process. Honestly, that is outside the scope of reason,” said state Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Phila.). “The governor’s own commission laid down a blueprint to deal with this. It’s time to act and to move in the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania.”
“We can’t wait any longer to solve this crisis. We certainly shouldn’t wait until the fall,” Stack said. “If we have to stay here in Harrisburg through the summer to hash out a solid, long-term plan to ensure that our roads and bridges are safe to travel, then that is what we must do.”