Around 10pm on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania state House voted to raid various funds throughout the state government—including $100 million from transportation—to plug up the state budget hole.
The legislation borrows against the state’s tobacco settlement fund, expands casino gaming, and provides a massive middle finger to state transit, parks, and environmental projects.
Incredibly, the legislation does not tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production to help plug the budget hole. Pennsylvania is still the only state in the country to not tax fracking.
And while this is a setback for the state, it’s not because of Bicycle Coalition supporters, and supporters of alternative transportation all over Pennsylvania.
Over the last few weeks, dozens of organizations from Philly to Pittsburgh have spoken, organized, and got thousands of people to call their state representatives telling them to vote against the ill-thought legislation.
As noted by Andrew Heath of PA Growing Greener, the outreach by the organizations and constituents “was unprecedented”—and for good reason: this was the largest raid of environmental funding in Pennsylvania’s history.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia asked our supporters to specifically target nine Republican representatives in districts with expansive Circuit Trails (and more on the way.) Of those nine, three—Quinn, Stephens and Petri—voted against the bill, and for better bike paths. Six voted in favor. Bicycle Coalition policy coordinator Bob Previdi also traveled to Harrisburg earlier this week to advocate on behalf of bicycling funds.
Your efforts were not for naught. Only 15 Republicans, total, voted against the legislation—and our supporters found three of them.
Here’s every “Yes” and “No” vote in the House. The 3rd tab in the spreadsheet highlights our advocacy efforts, and lists the trails that are in each representative’s district.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to be amended again.
The legislation is not supported by Governor Tom Wolf, who has called it “irresponsible.”
Thanks again for your hard work and letting your legislator know you support mass transit and trail funding.
This effort is not over, and we will keep you updated on what happens in the Capitol.