Governor signs bipartisan transportation bill into law

CENTRE HALL – In the shadow of Seven Mountains in Potters Mills along U.S. 322 in Centre County, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law on Monday a new comprehensive transportation bill.

“Today I put my signature on Pennsylvania’s passport for the future,” Corbett said.

Pennsylvania will invest an additional $2.3 to $2.4 billion into the state’s roads, bridges, rail lines and transit systems.

By the fifth year of the plan, the transportation package will invest an additional $1.3 billion annually for state roads and bridges; $480 million to $495 million annually for public transportation; $237 million annually for local roads and bridges; $144 million annually in a multi-modal fund; $30 million annually for dirt, gravel and low-volume roadways; and $86 million annually for Pennsylvania Turnpike expansion projects.

At a time when the national political landscape is dominated by partisanship, Corbett touted House Bill 1060 as a bipartisan success story.

“This shows a stark contrast between Harrisburg and D.C.,” Corbett said.

“Through bipartisan spirit and an agreement that crossed party lines it shows that Pennsylvania is a state in which moderation, careful thought and good faith still play a large role in how we govern. Pennsylvania is a state that puts progress ahead of party lines with a common goal of serving our citizens,” he said.

Corbett said transportation investment for taxpayers will amount to the equivalent of purchasing a gallon of iced tea every week.

Partial funding for the new transportation package is being derived from the elimination of the flat 12-cent gas tax and modernizing an outdated transportation financing structure through the uncapping of the wholesale Oil Company Franchise Tax.

Many of the road and bridge projects throughout Pennsylvania are slated to start in the spring of 2014.

Some of the projects included in the new transportation bill include the Potters Mills Gap project along U.S. 322.

State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, said this portion of U.S. 322 is particularly dangerous.

“The best thing you did as governor was hire Barry Schoch,” Corman said to Corbett, referring to Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Transportation.

Other local projects include improvements to U.S. 22 in Juniata County and the restoration of the Colyer Lake dam near Potters Mills in Centre County.

Corbett said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will have a link set up on its website that lists hundreds of planned projects throughout the state.

“When you click on it, it lights up like a Christmas tree,” he said.

“Because we worked together, we can now put shovels in the ground and rebuild our transportation system. The men and women who stood for this bill understand that compromise is not surrender, but rather a path to success,” Corbett said.

Corbett also thanked former governors Tom Ridge and Edward Rendell.