Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Sen. Toomey's comments disingenuous

on July 01, 2014 10:20 AM

I felt compelled to write this letter after I read a recent article in The Indiana Gazette that detailed U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey’s appearance at an Indiana County Chamber of Commerce event.

I’d like to clarify what Toomey’s real positions are regarding support for transportation.

When chamber Chairman Bob Kane asked about federal highway funds available for local highway enhancement projects, Toomey responded by saying Congress needs to “be doing five- to seven-year reauthorizations” of highway funding bills rather than the two-year reauthorization bills.

I think it’s really disingenuous for Toomey to act like he cares about local highway projects after he was part of the reason why a transportation bill failed to pass last year.

In fact, Toomey filibustered the bill and later was overheard calling it a constructive move. “I told you we’d kill it, and we did,” Toomey said at a tea party event.

Toomey voted against a bill that would have helped improve Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges at a time when the state leads the nation in the number of bridges that need repair. Modern roads and bridges are key to Pennsylvania’s businesses not only here, but throughout the region.

Take for instance the recent news of the closure to one lane of the vital I-495 bridge, which permits trucks and vehicles to bypass downtown Wilmington, Del., as they transport goods to market.

The bill Toomey “killed” would have funded bridge improvement projects all along the East Coast such as the I-495 bridge, whose closure to one lane is now slowing traffic for scores of miles along the major artery of the entire East Coast.

Even U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently called the I-495 shutdown a “national issue,” and indicative of what happens when the transportation bill has remained bottled up by a filibuster by Toomey and others in the Senate for years.

Toomey’s continued opposition to transportation bills as both a congressman and senator is why we need a congressional accountability bill that does not permit senators to say one thing in Indiana County and then vote another way in Washington, D.C.

Patricia Gardner

Rochester Mills

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