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Pennsylvania House poised to send highways bill to Corbett

The state House hastily added a previously unscheduled session Thursday for what appears likely be the final vote to approve a measure that was narrowly defeated by the same lawmakers just three days earlier.

By Mark Scolforo
The Associated Press

11/21/2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania state lawmakers prepared Thursday to send Gov. Tom Corbett a massive transportation package that would tax gasoline and drivers to fund bridge and highway repairs, construction and mass transit.

The state House hastily added a previously unscheduled session Thursday for what appears likely be the final vote to approve a measure that was narrowly defeated by the same lawmakers just three days earlier.

The proposal, the first major highway bill in six years, would phase in taxes and fees to eventually raise at least $2.3 billion annually.

It would increase taxes on gasoline at the wholesale level, which could boost prices at the pump by a quarter or more within five years.

It also calls for a range of higher fees and fines collected by the state Department of Transportation, and would link future increases to the rate of inflation.

Another provision would change "prevailing wage" rules for public works projects, saving local governments millions of dollars a year by waiving minimum pay requirements for projects worth less than $100,000. The current limit is $25,000.

It also would allow the PennDOT secretary to increase from 65 mph to 70 mph the speed limit on certain highways.

Corbett has signaled his strong support for the proposal, saying after the Senate voted for it 43-7 on Wednesday that it would "keep our children safe, keep our businesses open and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians."


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