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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Auditor General Jack Wagner on transportation, Turnpike, pension funding

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 2, 2012 1:05 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, October 3:

Highway_construction_overpass_300x170_scaled_cropp[1].jpgPennsylvania leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges with close to 4,800 (according to the PA Dept. of Transportation) and also has thousands of miles of roads that are rated as poor.  Everyone agrees the state's transportation infrastrucure is in dire need of repairs and upgrades.  The problem is how to pay for it, especially at a time when the state is facing many fiscal challenges.

 A study conducted several years ago found the state had a $1.7 billion annual shortfall in funding for transportation needs.  Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission recommended proposals that would generate $2.5 billion each year.  So far, neither Gov. Corbett or lawmakers have adopted those plans or offered alternative funding sources.

Auditor General Jack Wagner says we can't wait any longer and is calling on the governor and legislature to make transportation funding a top of the list priority. 

Wagner will appear on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss transportation funding as well as money problems with the Pennsylvania Turnpike and municipal pensions.

In your opinion, how should Pennsylvania pay for its transportation needs?

Listen to the program:

View photos from today's show in the slideshow below.

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  • Dawn L. King img 2012-10-03 08:24

    Infrastructure should be a top priority. It's bad enough Pennsylvania has the worst roads in the country, and we're at risk of repeating Minnesota. Money needs to be spent on this. For those of you who wish to cry "small government, less government", ensuring safe roads and bridges IS government's responsibility. AND this will creat jobs in the state.

  • TrinaB img 2012-10-03 08:25

    Yesterday while driving across the Turnpike and watching motorist speed at 72+mph through 55mph construction sites I figured out a way to make our roads safer, and raise funds for road repair and more Police Officers and State Troopers.

    Everytime I State Trooper or local Law Enforcement Officer pulls over a vechicle ona interstate or state highway the motorist gets an automatic fine of $1000.00 for the primary offense and $500 for each secondary offense. Speeding in a construction zone should be $10,000 plus loss of license for one year.

    As a commercial driver the condition of our bridges, especially everyone around Harrisburg, reaslly scares me when driving a 40ton vehicle.

    Great program and great show! I often listen twice a day.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-10-03 08:35

    Email from Thomas, Manheim twp.

    Just a comment, as a shareholder of norfolk southern, and a resident of lancaster county, i have to say that norfolk southern corp. is one company that has invested both private capital and public funds to increase rail capacity, move both freight from road to rail which takes wear and tear off the roads and bridges. norfolk southern is also a very friendly passenger friendly railroad meaning that expansion of passenger rail as long as norfolk it is paid fairly for the use of plant. is there any other private/public partnerships to expand this type of cooperation with state government.

    thank you.

  • Dawn L. King img 2012-10-03 08:37

    Gov. Corbett and the other politicians who signed the Grover Nordquist pledge need to tear it up! There also needs to be less concentration on marcellus shale. Perhaps the money that Gov. Corbett took from the smoking settlement that was put in the general fund should be re-invested to fund infrastructure projects.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-10-03 08:45

    Email from Cheryl

    How about reducing the amount of money given to the State Police in the first place?

    Do you realize that numerous State Police employees have vehicles just to drive back and forth to work.

    Supervisors, sergeants, lieutenants, majors, etc. automatically get a car to drive from home to work and their home can be in Harrisburg and they work in Bethlehem and they use that car and gas, which gets billed everyday to the Commonwealth.

    These people are only going to an office. They should have to drive their own vehicle to the office and then if they have to go out for work use a work vehicle. That's what troopers do and they are the ones who actually are working out in the field and with the public. These other people make a lot more money and still get a car! It is a waste of taxpayer money and should be corrected!

    • TrinaB img 2012-10-03 09:57

      Cheryl; I am sure all those supervisors use there car for more than going back and forth to work. Isn't a supervisor on call 24/7? I am sure they spend lots of time in the feild investigating inceidents involving Trooper/Citizen interactions.

      Do you actually know and interact with any Troopers or other Police Officers?

    • TrinaB img 2012-10-03 09:58

      Cheryl; I am sure all those supervisors use their car for more than going back and forth to work. Isn't a supervisor on call 24/7? I am sure they spend lots of time in the feild investigating inceidents involving Trooper/Citizen interactions.

      Do you actually know and interact with any Troopers or other Police Officers?

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