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Rep. Shuster: No debt for federal transportation spending

By , - Last modified: February 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster

As discussions begin on Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposals, including one to improve transportation funding in the state, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster said Monday in Harrisburg he wants to reach across the aisle to work on federal transportation bills, but Congress needs to find a way to pay for it without more debt.

"Deficit spending is not the answer," said Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

That debate has been the trouble for some time on transportation bills, he said while answering reporters' questions after a speech at the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition summit at the Hilton Harrisburg.

In earlier remarks, Shuster urged Pennsylvanians and Americans from all political spectrums to work together on transportation funding, posing the issue as a vital part of how the country and economy mesh.

"I believe (transportation) is a key function of government, and I'm committed to finding a responsible way to pay for it," Shuster said. "It touches everyone's lives. If we don't make this kind of investment, it'll hurt our nation and economy."

He wasn't above pointing a finger at both parties, saying Democrats want to throw money at problems but Republicans don't want to pay for anything, which is detrimental in an issue as important as transportation funding.

The committee will hold hearings Wednesday on the federal role in infrastructure, in which former Gov. Ed Rendell will testify. Congress needs a new surface transportation bill before September 2014, but is facing similar problems as Pennsylvania in how to finance it.

For more on Pennsylvania's transportation issues and the Corbett proposals, see the Business Journal's print edition Friday.

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