Infrastructure Relief

After a disappointing Monday night defeat, proponents of the proposed $2.3 billion House transportation funding bill persuaded eight representatives to change ‘no’ votes to ‘yes’ on Tuesday.

The bill passed by a 104-95 margin that included strange bedfellows because of the amendment that accompanied the legislation which raised the minimum project cost for prevailing wage rates to $100,000. That amendment sent pro-labor Democrats to the Republican side of the aisle while moderate Republicans in southeastern PA stood with Dems to support the funding injection to Philadelphia’s troubled SEPTA mass transit system.

It appears that Monday’s vote allowed conservatives the political cover they needed from ‘no tax increase’ pledges. One House leader was quoted as saying that the switched votes came from Reps. who thought that the measure would pass without their votes but were persuaded otherwise on Wednesday.

The bill went back to the Senate Wednesday – where the prevailing wage modification may be struck down – before coming back to the House for a final approval later in the week. Gov. Corbett and House leaders believe the new-found majority in the House will hold.

In project news, DGS is requesting CM-Agency proposals for the University of Pittsburgh’s $10 million Hillman Library renovation. No word as yet on which firm was successful in the Cathedral of Learning Elevator Modernization project. Crown Castle International should be putting out to bid a $20 million expansion and renovation to their headquarters in Southpointe. Crown is acquiring the former Mylan HQ and will renovate that building and add a connection between the Mylan building and their existing office. Astorino is doing the design. Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services is the owner’s rep for Crown Castle.

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