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Senate passes transportation funding bill

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The state Senate yesterday voted overwhelmingly for a transportation funding reform bill worth more than $2 billion and similar to the House bill passed a day earlier.

House Bill 1060 is similar to the former Senate Bill 1 in that it uncaps the Oil Company Franchise Tax over five years and increases vehicle registration and licensing fees to provide additional funding for roads, bridges, transit and intermodal ports.

"We worked hard with PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch and a long list of stakeholders to get the word out that this funding is crucial to addressing critical safety issues in communities across the state — from structurally deficient bridges, to crumbling roads and congested highways," state Sen. John Rafferty, the transportation committee chairman, said following the bill's passage last night.

The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan vote of 43-7, according to the Senate's website. If the House — which is expected to take up S.B. 1060 today — concurs in the bill, it would head to the governor's desk for a signature.

Gov. Tom Corbett has backed the compromise that moved transportation funding forward in both houses.

"Today, the state Senate kept the momentum moving on a dramatic piece of legislation that will keep our children safe, keep our businesses open and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians," Corbett said in a statement last night. "A comprehensive transportation plan has been years in the making and with today's vote we have taken yet another step to preserve Pennsylvania's future."

Businesses are anticipating a final passage but preparing for cost increases.

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