Pennsylvania Senate approves $2.3B transportation bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania state senators have given their approval to a major transportation spending proposal that proponents hope will modernize travel in the state.

The Senate's 43-to-7 vote Wednesday came amid tensions after Democrats tried to strip a provision to reduce wages on some highway projects, but Republicans stopped them with a rarely used parliamentary maneuver.

House approval is expected Thursday.

The proposal is supported by Gov. Tom Corbett and would raise gasoline taxes and motorist fees to spend $2.3 billion a year more on roads, bridges and mass transit. That's roughly 40 percent of the Transportation Department's current spending.

For years, studies have said Pennsylvania lags billions of dollars behind in bridge and highway repairs. In the House, conservatives objected that it would be the second-largest tax increase in state history.

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