Allentown
66° F
Clear
Clear

Chamber: Transportation funding a much needed investment

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 21 2013 04:02:31 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 05:59:56 PM CST

It was a bit of a bumpy road, but it looks like Pennsylvania lawmakers could soon give final approval to a $2.3 billion transportation funding bill.

It was a bit of a bumpy road, but Pennsylvania lawmakers have given final approval to a $2.3 billion transportation funding bill.

The measure was narrowly defeated in the House earlier this week, but it was resurrected and lawmakers held a final vote on the measure Thursday, passing it 113 to 85.

The bill, expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, would put money toward repairs, mass transit and new construction while increasing taxes on gasoline and some PennDOT fees and fines.

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce supports the bill, and Michelle Griffin Young, with the chamber, said it's a much-needed investment.

"You're paying to be safe and your children are safe," she said. "Of course, as a business organization, we don't want to see tax increases, but this is something that has not been taken care of. We have not been paying what we should and this is getting us on a level playing field.

"What the proposal is, is to take 12 cents off what you pay on a state tax, ok, so you're saving that money, however, there's going to be a cap lifted on what is charged on the oil company franchise tax," she added.

69 News heard from drivers about the issue.

"I'm willing to pay the tax if they're willing to fix the roads and bridges and make it a little safer around here, said Mike Dottery, of Upper Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co.

"I'm not excited because I actually drive to Delaware every two weeks to visit a client, and it's an extra expense I'm not looking forward to," said Alana Ritter, of Fogelsville, Lehigh Co. "Why do we have to raise gas prices? Isn't there another way we can raise money?"

According to PennDOT, the financing phases in over five years, and the average driver would pay about $2.50 more a week in the fifth year.

Young said the bill will pave the way to smoother commutes.

"A number of bridges that were actually put on restriction, you've been driving, maybe on your way from home to work and you couldn't go because that bridge was cut off, those are the changes that we're going to see starting to happen," she said.