Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers. As our Capitol colleague Charlie Thompson ably catalogues elsewhere on PennLive this morning, the Republican-controlled state House l.
The vote came after an energetic day of lobbying and arm-twisting from the Corbett administration, which badly wanted a bill sent to Gov. Tom Corbett before lawmakers break for a Thanksgiving recess later today.
The issue was rapidly becoming central to the 2014 governor's race, making it a political liability for Corbett, who has spent months pushing for the approval of a highway-funding package.
The bill is similar to a bill that cleared the Senate in June. It hikes the state's wholesale tax on gasoline and increases virtually all fees and fines paid by motorists. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation later today, the Post-Gazette reports.
House leaders denied any pressure had been applied, though that's tough to believe that's the case, given the narrow margin by which the bill And the Post-Gazette -- including lobbying by former Gov. Ed Rendell.
One potential hang-up: The bill contains , which hasn't been updated since it went on the books in 1963.
The bill raises the cost threshold at which the law's minimum wage requirements kick in for transportation construction projects from an outdated ,000 at present, to 0,000 going forward.
"We will caucus on what was approved by the House tonight and proceed from there," said Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware told the PG. "That said, what the House approved appears to be fairly close to what a strong bipartisan majority of the Senate approved [in June]." Corbett could sign the bill as early as Thursday.
According to the PG,
The language approved by the House Tuesday raises .3 billion to .4 billion by the fifth year, with .3 billion devoted to state roads and bridges and about 0 million to 5 million for public transit. The remainder of the money is earmarked to local governments for road maintenance (7 million), Pennsylvania Turnpike projects ( million), a multimodal fund (4 million) and repair of dirt and gravel roads ( million).
In a statement, Corbett said the House vote "[sets]the stage for the safety of our children and the economic prosperity for Pennsylvania.
Voting for a comprehensive transportation plan will keep our transportation system safe and efficient, improve the state s economy, and improve the quality of life for our 12 million-plus residents," Corbett said.
PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch added a high-five, saying Corbett had "spent months pushing for an affirmative vote on a comprehensive transportation plan. The House has taken action and we look forward to Senate agreement and the Governor s signature on a finished product."
The rest of the day's news starts now:
Legislation that would mandate , The Associated Press reports.
A , The Pennsylvania Independent reports.
The Allegheny County Council , The Tribune-Review reports.
Ousted Democrats , The Morning Call reports.
U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-8th, , PoliticsPA reports.
Keystone Politics i.
What Goes On.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: Homelessness Awareness Event with Reps. Harhai, Brown, Reed Gillespie
10 a.m., Media Center: Rep. Seth Grove on mental illness/disability funding.
11 a.m., Media Center: Sens. Yudichak and Corman on reforming the Penn State board.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Sen Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, holds a 6 p.m. reception at Rizzo's Restaurant in lovely Crabtree, Pa., tonight. Admission runs 0 to ,000.
You Say It's Your Birthday Dept.
Belated congrats go out to Angela Couloumbis of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who celebrated on Tuesday. And best wishes today to former AP reporter and longtime Friend O'The Blog Martha Raffaele. Congrats.
So a large part of this morning here at PennLive World HQ was spent arguing over the virtues of The Small Faces. Thus, we give you "Lazy Sunday" from 1967.
Wednesday's Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Our second-favorite club, the Vancouver Canucks, Alas.
And now you're up to date. See you all back here in a bit.
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