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 for Thursday, April 4:
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch will appear on Thursday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss the state's transportation needs.
Let's face it -- the list is long.
For years, we've been told the state is heading toward a transportation infrastructure crisis. Pennsylvania has more than four thousand structurally deficient bridges and miles of roadways that are crumbling. The issue has always been there isn't enough money to fix the problem.
Past studies have shown about $2 billion is needed each year to upgrade, modernize, repair, or maintain the state's highways and keep other forms of transportation running.
The legislature enacted Act 44 several years ago to solve the funding crisis. Tolls on Interstate 80 in northern Pennsylvania as well as annual contributions from the Pennsylvania Turnpike would generate revenue. Instead, the federal government said tolls from I-80 couldn't be applied to anything other than maintaining that highway and the Turnpike has gone into debt to pay its share -- which was well short of what was needed.
Finally in February Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a plan that would result in $1.8 billion each year by lifting the cap on the state's oil company franchise tax.
That plan hasn't made it through the legislature and several lawmakers from both political parties have indicated they think the state requires more money than what the governor's proposal would bring in.
In fact, the Governor's Transportation Advisory Commission made recommendations in 2011 to raise $2.7 billion each year.
We'll discuss funding with Sec. Schoch as well as rail transportation and mass transit.
How should Pennsylvania pay for transportation infrastructure?
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch
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