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Leaders, state reps kick around top priorities

December 15, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Municipal and county leaders from Franklin County, Pa., called on state representatives Wednesday to address a half-dozen priorities in 2011.

The Franklin County Council of Governments (COG) provided five legislators with information about transportation funding, prevailing wage, bid limits, electronic advertising, police radar and storm water management.

COG members also shared a few of their other concerns during a relaxed conversation with state Reps. Dan Moul, Rob Kauffman, Mark Keller and Todd Rock and state Sen. Richard Alloway.

“Do consider us your partners, rather than adversaries, in Harrisburg,” Kauffman said of the state capital.

“We’re all on the same page. ... It's just how we get it done,” Keller said.

The GOP legislators said they're eagerly awaiting the coming change of leadership when newly elected Tom Corbett, a Republican, takes the governorship from Democrat Ed Rendell next month.

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Rendell is finishing his second term. The Franklin County lawmakers said they didn't support Rendell's efforts for a special session on transportation funding because they expected he'd try to increase spending and taxes.

“Rendell was trying to create a crisis. ... That's pretty much why the legislature said ‘enough is enough,’” said Keller, R-Franklin/Perry.

Southampton Township Supervisor Samuel Cressler said municipalities need more than the 12.8 percent of revenue received from the liquid fuels tax. The revenue can be used for road paving.

“That's just not acceptable to maintain our infrastructure,” he said. Cressler said 56 percent of all roads in Pennsylvania are owned and maintained by townships and boroughs. “We need you to think about the citizens that need these roads and pass legislation that puts the tax dollars where they must go,” he said.

Franklin County Administrator John Hart said he feels the county is under-funded for its roads projects, receiving $250,000 a year and maintaining dozens of bridges.

“It needs to be 20 percent,” said Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York. “I know you guys are hurting.”

Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland, said he expects the concept of privatizing the Pennsylvania Turnpike might be resurrected as a way to increase revenue.

Moul, R-Adams/Franklin, said he thinks the tax revenue might be diminished as more people and businesses start using vehicles with alternative fuel.

“We're going to have to figure out other ways to fund highways in the future,” he said.

Rock, R-Franklin, said transportation funding and the COG's other issues are important, but the General Assembly will be largely focused on a projected $5 billion budget shortfall in 2011.

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