Corbett's transportation plan gets Senate hearing
HARRISBURG (AP) -- Gov. Tom Corbett's transportation secretary said Tuesday that he doesn't know how much of a proposed wholesale gas tax increase would borne by consumers, but he defended his boss' multibillion-dollar transportation funding plan as cheaper than the cost of sitting on congested roadways.
Corbett and Secretary Barry Schoch, who took questions from Senate Transportation Committee members on the week-old plan, are trying to strike a delicate balance: They must satisfy lawmakers, many of whom want more money more quickly for transportation, and a general public that is unenthusiastic about paying for it.
The plan to generate more than $5 billion over five years to improve roads, bridges and mass transit services involves raising wholesale taxes on the fuel that gas stations buy. If the whole increase is passed along to consumers, it would cost the average motorist $2 a week, Schoch said.
To sway public opinion, and perhaps skeptical lawmakers, Corbett and Schoch have begun stressing the cost of doing nothing and the public safety of 1.5 million Pennsylvania children on school buses every weekday.
Of more than 40,000 miles of state-maintained highways, one in five of those miles need repaving or more substantial work, according to the Department of Transportation.