The House Democrats' plan emerged last week as Gov. Rendell announced that he would drop his original transportation proposal: to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private company and impose a tax on oil company profits.
The governor had sought $1.7 billion in new transportation funding, but earlier this week said he could settle for $1 billion if that amount was available in the coming fiscal year.
Under the House bill, about $450 would go toward highway projects, the remaining $250 million to mass-transit agencies.
Soon after the vote, Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans called the package "a starting point." He said he hoped that it would compel a serious debate on the issue in the Senate, and that the funding package would eventually rise to the level Rendell is seeking.
"I look at this as the floor and we have to go up," said Evans (D., Phila.).
Although the transportation package is far short of the governor's goal, his administration applauded the work of the House, while stressing that he remains committed to his call for at least $1 billion.
"We commend the House - for taking an important step toward solving Pennsylvania's long-standing transportation crisis," said Chuck Ardo, a Rendell spokesman. "It is critical that we find a solution to the pressing needs of our bridges, roads and public transit systems as soon as possible."
Contact staff writer Mario F. Cattabiani at 717-787-5990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.