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Bid to save a unit of PennDot

House speaker makes a pitch to Rendell.

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania House Speaker Keith McCall is defending a unit within the state Department of Transportation used by lawmakers to assist their constituents, and says Gov. Rendell's decision to break it up is "more than disappointing."

In a three-page letter sent Monday, McCall asked Rendell to reconsider disbanding the Legislative Services Section, which McCall said has been used to sort out complicated problems and assist those lacking a computer or other means to deal with their problems at PennDot.

"The majority are senior citizens and people on public assistance who do not have the resources that many of us enjoy," wrote McCall (D., Carbon). The letter was first posted on the website

The governor and McCall met Monday, Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma said, and McCall said he would produce additional material.

"As of now, the governor is still inclined not to have a special PennDot unit dedicated to serving only legislative requests," Tuma said.

Rendell moved to dissolve the operation after it was criticized in a report issued last month by a grand jury that investigated allegations of legislative corruption. The grand jury report said taxpayer-funded resources should not be used by the legislature to help people navigate the PennDot bureaucracy.

PennDot spokeswoman Danielle Klinger said on Friday that the unit would stop accepting motor-vehicle applications, driver-licensing applications, and telephone queries from legislative offices.