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Friday, February 17, 2012

Road Rage: Dems and Republicans square off over transportation

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

In the mounting fight over funding transportation in the state, Republicans and Democrats each fired shots today.

First, Gov. Tom Corbett – in Pittsburgh to tour Calgon Carbon Corporation -- told reporters that Democratic lawmakers were "ballsy" for criticizing him on not acting yet on a transportation funding solution, the Tribune-Review reported.

Noting that Democrats had failed to provide a lasting funding source during 8 years under Governor Ed Rendell, Corbett said: "For them to call on me and say, 'We need to fix this problem in the first 14, 13 months you're in office ... It's ballsy."

Democratic lawmakers had their own take on the situation. Democratic leader Frank Dermody D-Oakmont was "amused by the governor's colorful language, but notes that both Democrats and Republican lawmakers have pleaded with the governor to do something," says Bill Patton, Dermody's spokesman, in an e-mail. "Tom Corbett took office 13 months ago, established a commission to study transportation 12 months ago, received the commission's recommendations seven months ago, and in his second annual budget address 10 days ago Mr. Corbett claimed to have 'developed some workable solutions.'"

Dermody also upped the rhetorical ante today, issuing a co-sponsorship memorandum asserting that he planned to introduce legislation that would rename the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the "Department of Deferred Maintenance."

According to Dermody's memorandum, the bill "would serve an important purpose in highlighting that Gov. Corbett's inaction on transportation funding has effectively changed the mission of the Department ... While I have full respect for the Secretary and the work done by thousands of dedicated PennDOT public servants under the most difficult circumstances I believe that changing the name to Department of Deferred Maintenance is appropriate and reflects a situation the Governor created by his failure to lead."

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