At the request of state Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Brookline), members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from local officials, business leaders and transportation experts at a public hearing in Pittsburgh Wednesday regarding Pennsylvania’s transportation funding obstacles.
Molchany served as co-chairwoman during the hearing, which analyzed the funding plan for transportation projects Gov. Tom Corbett’s introduced as part of his 2013-14 state spending plan.
“Governor Corbett’s budget for transportation funding is woefully inadequate,” Molchany said in a statement released Wednesday. “For too many years, public transit has been in crisis. Our local roads and bridges are in disrepair. The governor's budget falls dramatically short of the long-term, legitimate investment that our state needs, and this hearing proves that Pennsylvania needs a clean, comprehensive and complete solution."
Molchany said this hearing gave the region an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the current infrastructure and the many benefits it can provide the region and the state with reliable, sustainable, long-term funding.
“Governor Corbett has lagged on making transportation infrastructure a priority, and as a result public safety and economic competitiveness have suffered,” said hearing co-chairman Mike Sturla, a Democratic state representative from Lancaster. “Adequately funding our state’s transportation infrastructure in a comprehensive and sustainable way has been a key tenet of the House Democratic agenda and Representative Molchany has added her voice to those calling on the Corbett administration to get serious regarding transit funding.”
Those testifying at Wednesdays' hearing included: Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive; Michael Cetra, general counsel, Port Authority of Allegheny County; Stephen Palonis, president, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 85; Ken Zapinksi, senior vice president, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; H. Daniel Cessna, district 11 executive, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Chuck DiPietro, transportation planning director, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; Chis Sandvig, regional policy manager, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group; Patrick Roberts, principal transportation planner, City of Pittsburgh; Richard Stafford, director of Traffic 21, Carnegie Mellon University and Heinz College.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.