State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Schwartz urges action on transportation bill

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 12, 2013 9:14 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz is wading into the transportation funding debate in Harrisburg, but she's staying on tiptoe.

On a trip to the state Capitol Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz outlined the what, the why, and the when as she urged state lawmakers to pass a funding plan to repair roads and bridges as soon as possible. But she's one 'H' shy of a perfect story - the how.

Negotiations are ongoing to get a roughly $2 billion plan through the House. Republican House leadership recently added to the mix proposals to change state law to bring down pay on smaller public works projects. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle frequently refer to it as a holy grail issue for labor unions and Democrats.

They oppose the change. So does Schwartz.

"I do think that the bill should be done without the prevailing wage changes," Schwartz told Capitol reporters Tuesday. "And I think the Republicans fully understand that is not something that makes it easier for Democrats to vote for it."

So, how should state House Democrats proceed in negotiations? Schwartz wouldn't say.

"I'm not going to say here's exactly what you should do, what I'm saying is, get it done," said Schwartz. "This is - you know, Pennsylvanians need this, our businesses need it, our communities need it.

Some Republicans have scoffed that Democrats won't pass transportation at any cost because it would give Governor Corbett a "win."

Schwartz says her message to Democrats is the same.

"We've got to be able to have basic maintenance of our roads and bridges and highways," she said.

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