A Pennsylvania coalition, the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, has pledged its support for a comprehensive solution to Pennsylvania's transportation funding dilemma and urged the General Assembly to address the issue in the current special legislative session.

The Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition listed more than two dozen members representing interests such as unionized labor, health care, business, agriculture and urban restoration.

"We agree that this is a much greater problem than the $472 million lost from federal rejection of the I-80 tolling plan," said George Wolff, architect of the coalition. He said the extent of the problem is more in line with what the state Transportation Advisory Committee recently identified as a $3.5 billion annual gap in transportation funding.

According to Wolff, a report released this week by the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the state's roads as a "D-minus," down from a D in a report issued in 2006.

"The business of Pennsylvania revolves around our transportation network," said Wolff. "What we pay at the state level helps fund local road and bridge improvements as well as state and interstate highway maintenance and construction, tens of thousands of bridges, public transit and our local airports as well."

Other coalition members include the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Boroughs Association, dirt and gravel road representatives, freight and passenger rail organizations, air and seaports, travel and tourism organizations, farm organizations and bike and pedestrian trail supporters, as well as the Pennsylvania Public Transit Association, individual transit agencies and the highway construction industry.

"Given the other issues that the General Assembly is going to face in the coming years, the time to address this one is now," Wolff said. "The public will support it, it's not bogged down by philosophical or political divisions, and the benefits in providing a solution are considerable."

Earlier this month, Gov. Ed Rendell called a special legislative session to address the transportation funding issue. The session could last through Nov. 30, when the regular legislative session expires.