Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fontana is in the back seat in the Senate



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HARRISBURG, March 29, 2006 - Legislation aimed at keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh, playing in a new arena built with private funds was put on ice by Senate Republicans, the bill's sponsor Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) said today.

"We were informed that western Pennsylvania Republicans put a hold on the legislation and the bill was pulled from today's agenda," Fontana said. "The reasons for the hold were not specifically conveyed to me but I intend to find out why there is a delay and what are the specific objections. In my opinion, it's all about politics and not good government."

Fontana's measure was slated for consideration by the Senate State Government Committee today. Under the legislation (SB 1091), the Gaming Board is required to consider whether an applicant for a Pittsburgh slots parlor has included plans to provide funding for a new arena. The provision of these private dollars for a new arena would become a consideration for awarding the license.

"The plan keeps the Penguins here, builds an arena without taxpayers footing the bill, and provides clear criteria for applicants," Fontana said. "It is inexplicable and unclear why there would be opposition to this, especially from western Pennsylvania lawmakers."

As important, Fontana said, Governor Rendell recently indicated that he backed efforts to build a new arena with private dollars leveraged through gaming.

Fontana said that he does not favor one slots applicant over any others and that the legislation will assure hockey fans that the Penguins will be playing at a privately financed venue in-town for years to come.

"The goal shouldn't be moved every time we prepare to take a shot at solving this problem," Fontana said. Fontana said that he planned to ask Pittsburgh area Republican Senators today why the bill was pulled from the agenda. "We need to move forward, be innovative, leverage private dollars and keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh," Fontana said.

"This legislation would help do that and it deserves to be considered."

Fontana is a member of the Senate State Government Committee.

Fontana is generally clueless and also without the necessary power to get anything done. Fontana is worried about "good government" yet he couples that conversation with a new arena. Oh my gosh. He thinks good government and the Senate Government Committee should be dealing with an new arena in Pittsburgh.

To him, it is inexplicable and unclear why there would be opposition to this. DUHH.... Because Fontana's measure is all about what BAD GOVERNMENT does.

Mr. Fontana, I beg to differ. We don't need to move forward on a new arena when the city and state is in the toilet.

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