As Gov. Tom Wolf pushes his revised tax plan this week as part of a contentiously debated proposed state budget, the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) wants to see the final product be more beneficial for the group’s 400-plus members.
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based trade association specifically does not want to see a budget approved that would move the commonwealth’s highway improvement funds into the general fund.
“Over the past 15 years and three administrations, more and more money is shifted from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT’s) highway improvement budget to the general fund via the state police line item,” APC Executive Vice President Robert Latham said.
In fact, Latham said Wolf's proposed budget would further shift funds away from transportation projects.
“This year’s budget increases that drain by $82 million to more than $750 million annually,” Latham told Pennsylvania Business Daily. “If that trend continues, it will severely hamper our ability to address needed road projects in Pennsylvania."
The state’s budget impasse is almost 100 days old. Most recently, Wolf issued a spending freeze Friday on all agencies under his jurisdiction. The freeze impacts hiring, spending and travel, though there are some exceptions, according to the order.
For instance, PennDOT is able to continue all road and bridge services as it has throughout the budget stalemate. The hiring freeze allows hiring related to public safety, law enforcement, corrections and other critical functions, while the travel ban permits travel that is “mission critical” to the agency and fundamental to the job of an employee.
The state House of the General Assembly could vote on the governor’s latest proposal on Wednesday.