State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Corbett presses unions, lawmakers for transportation deal

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 23, 2013 5:24 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

State lawmakers are heading back to their districts for two weeks, but Gov. Corbett spent their last voting day in Harrisburg urging them to send him a transportation funding plan.

There's only so much he can say at this point. He turned to props, illustrating the disrepair of state bridges by holding up a hefty chunk of concrete that used to be attached to the Mulberry Street bridge in Harrisburg.

"It was a piece that PennDOT picked up and brought to me," Corbett said, before setting it down in front of his podium. Minutes later, the governor was pounding on the podium to underscore his remarks that lawmakers not withhold their votes to satisfy partisan agendas. "This is not a partisan issue," he said.

The real pressure remains on trade unions that stand against proposed changes to state law that would bring down laborers' pay on certain state and local government public works projects.

Corbett notes the prevailing wage law was last changed in 1960s - saying unions should be willing to cede some ground, since he and legislative leaders already have.

"We need to come and each give a little to get a bill done now," Corbett said.

A roughly $2.2 billion dollar proposal is under discussion between House and Senate legislative leaders. The governor proposed a $1.8 billion dollar plan back in February, which the Senate bumped up to generate $2.5 billion dollars.

House majority leaders say the only thing that can win more votes from G-O-P lawmakers is a bill that includes changes to the prevailing wage law.

"If this bill doesn't pass this year," Corbett said, "I don't know when it will."

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