On second thought, Doomsday avoided after House vote

 

SEPTA train
Credit: Metro file photo

Doomsday on Tuesday came and went.

Twenty-four hours after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down a transportation bill that would fund repairs to many of the state’s bridges, roads and public transit systems, lawmakers reconvened Tuesday night and voted it in, according to media reports.

The vote ushers the $2.3 billion bill into the Senate for approval. If it passes the Senate, it returns to the House for final approval. It could be approved as early as Thursday, the Inquirer reported.

While the need to raise taxes was repeatedly cited as a major concern for the bill’s collapse, many lawmakers noted the provision that eliminated the need to pay union-level wages for the public projects that caused the most indecision.

“Today, the House of Representatives made a dramatic choice to invest in the future of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement. “In doing so, they have set the stage for the safety of our children and the economic prosperity of Pennsylvania.”

In September, SEPTA officials laid out their so-called Doomsday scenario: Without state funding, the transit authority would wither away. Essentially, the transit company claimed most of the Regional Rail lines would gradually fall into disrepair and eventually be eliminated along with reductions on several other services.

The state Senate passed a similar bill in the spring, but it did not include wage changes.

The House bill calls for an increase in fees for driver’s licenses, registration and moving violations, all of which would take effect in 2015. Gas prices would also most likely rise, according to the newspaper.

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