Business and labor: Pass transportation

Published by Kate Giammarise on .

HARRISBURG -- We all know the old saying politics makes strange bedfellows, and that was certainly on display at a press conference Tuesday in favor of a transportation funding package; the event was a veritable lovefest between business and labor groups both supporting expanded transportation dollars.

Speakers included union leaders such as Rick Bloomingdale, president of the PA AFL-CIO and business representatives like David Patti, president of the PA Business Council.

Several in attendance referenced the diverse coalition of groups backing the transportation bill - "from the bicycle coalition, to AARP, to conservation groups, to labor leaders, to local chambers of commerce," said Rob Wonderling, CEO of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, surrounded by about 50 supporters at Tuesday's event.

"This is very unusual, you've got the head of the Chamber of Commerce sounding like Samuel Gompers," joked Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, referencing an early labor leader and founder of the American Federation of Labor.

The $2.5 billion annual package has passed the Senate and could get a vote in the House, though its fate there is unclear as a number of House Republicans -- including some leaders -- don't support the bill.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was also in attendance, and urged prompt passage of the measure.

"Urban centers, suburban centers, and rural centers all came together [in the Senate]," to pass this bill, he said.

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