Time for state to finally solve its transportation woes

It’s not a stretch to say Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges may be in greater need of repair and modernization than any state roads in the country.

The good news is that efforts to change that appear to finally be bearing fruit.

Bickering and partisanship have stalled transportation bills in the past, but there seems to be less of that this time around. There is even bipartisan agreement among former governors, with Democrat Ed Rendell and Republicans Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker agreeing that Pennsylvania can no longer shove road and bridge improvements aside.

The dollar difference among proposals from the state House, Senate and Gov. Tom Corbett is not that great and there is general agreement on the gas tax and motorist fee increases necessary to fund the package. Some of the proposals even solve some mass transit funding woes.

The biggest sticking point seems to be that the Republican-driven proposal exempts more local transportation projects from state wage requirements than the Democratic one. We are on record with the belief that those requirements need to be dropped to allow more work per public dollar on state projects.

This is an opportunity to solve one of the state’s big problems before it gets too big to solve.

We’re not talking about modernizing a couple side streets. Pennsylvania has 9,000 miles of crumbling roadway, 4,500 structurally deficient bridges and mass transit agencies struggling to make ends meet.

This needs to be the week Pennsylvania passes a practical transportation bill.