Legislators should do their jobs

The Altoona Mirror takes legislative leaders to task for failing to do their jobs:

Senate Republican leaders – President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati and Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi – are among the latest to come down with the ailment of do-nothing-itis.

The Senate’s top two said Friday that a proposal to lease the turnpike to a private consortium will not be approved this year. Pileggi was quoted as saying there wasn’t support for taking up the matter, ”And we should not rush into such a major policy decision under some sort of artificial deadline.”

Rush? A firm offer of $12.8 billion to lease the turnpike for 75 years has been on the table since May 19 with virtually nothing happening in the Legislature. A dead snail probably could have made more progress than the well-compensated officials who are supposed to be taking care of the people’s business.

And in case there’s any confusion on the part of legislators: Worrying about how to pay for transportation needs is the people’s business.

Things aren’t much better in the House. Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Markosek and Majority White Keith McCall have whistled the lease plan dead, and Majority Leader Bill DeWeese suggests waiting until next year and trying again to get permission to toll I-80.

Talk about “leadership inaction.”

Since these legislators think waiting on a potential lease deal is no big deal, it’s a shame we can’t wait to issue their next paychecks until next year. Perhaps then they might consider the matter a little more pressing.

While people may disagree about whether leasing the turnpike is a good idea, it’s an idea that deserves thorough debate and a vote – especially when there is an offer on the table and the current transportation funding plan has been nixed by the feds.