STATE COLLEGE — Glenn O. Hawbaker laid off more than 60 workers Tuesday — a move company President Dan Hawbaker blamed on inaction by the state government.
Hawbaker said the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Corbett should be focused on finding and producing funding for infrastructure projects.
He predicted 15,000 to 30,000 additional job losses statewide in the paving and highway construction industry over the next year if money isn’t freed up for road and bridge efforts.
The company has furloughed more than 110 workers this year.
“Until the Pennsylvania legislature takes action it won’t get better,” Hawbaker said.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said more funding needs to be allocated to PennDOT. He said the General Assembly has had some holdups in finding the money.
“We need a long-term infrastructure plan,” Benninghoff said. “I think you’re going to see additional bridges closed or weight restricted subsequent to this, and that doesn’t help anybody.”
Benninghoff said a crumbling infrastructure, in addition to more layoffs, could also prevent new businesses from coming into the state.
He said the ability to transport goods across the state is important for many businesses looking at Pennsylvania.
State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, proposed a transportation bill in October 2011, but he said it has not received enough support to move forward.
“There is no sign that it will be (passed) anytime soon,” he said, adding that he hopes a highway bill can be tackled in the next legislative session.
Charlie Campbell, Glenn O. Hawbaker’s director of special projects, said though PennDOT still has some funds remaining to continue construction projects, not enough funding existed to prevent the most recent layoffs.
Tor Michaels, chief of staff for state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, said Conklin is aware of the call for infrastructure reform and supports filling that need.
“This is sad news and really I just hope that when we come back for the fall this administration comes up with a plan,” Michaels said.
Michaels said the crumbling infrastructure in Pennsylvania is the No. 1 public safety concern of the state.
“Sooner or later this legislature is going to need to step up to the plate,” he said.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan