Transportation needs to be top priority in Pa.
Pennsylvania has yet to recover from the Legislature's five-year-old folly of tying transit funding, highway reconstruction and bridge repairs to a non-existent funding source.
And the state won't recover - its bridges and highways will remain among the nation's most in need of repair - until the current administration resolves to tie transportation to new, real revenue.
The folly was pretending that the state would realize billions of dollars of revenue from new tolls on Interstate 80 - a pipe dream to which lawmakers clung until federal regulators rejected the idea not once, but three times.
Now the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which borrowed billions of dollars for highway projects in anticipation of the non-existent I-80 toll revenue, is $7 billion in debt - up from $2 billion in 2002 and $4 billion in 2009.
The resignation this week of Turnpike chief executive Roger Nutt should be the occasion for the state government to attack its mounting transit, highway and bridge problems in several ways.
First, the Legislature should move to roll the Turnpike Commission into PennDOT. Pennsylvania doesn't need two highway departments and the commission's debt ultimately is the responsibility of taxpayers, whether it's held indirectly by the commission or directly by the government.
Gov. Corbett should decide on which of the recommendations by the advisory commission he formed to study transportation needs and funding. Inevitably, those recommendations will impose increased costs on motorists for registration, licenses and fuel. But that reflects the vast scope of the problem, which will only get worse the longer it lingers.
The upside would be increased economic activity and job growth, directly for construction and indirectly because Pennsylvania is such a transportation-dependent state.
Mr. Corbett should make transportation a priority in his next budget.