Spokesman:?Hess in critical condition

HARRISBURG – The chairman of the Transportation Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is in critical condition after complications arose following a leg operation, a caucus spokesman said Wednesday.

The medical condition of Rep. Dick Hess, R-Bedford, took a downturn over the weekend, said House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin.

Miskin said Hess, 74, was recovering from a leg operation he had about two weeks ago when the medical issues arose. Miskin said family members provided the update to the legislative staff in Hess’ district office.

As majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee, the 14-term Hess has been a key player in negotiations over a proposal to raise billions of dollars for roads, bridges and mass transit.

The Mirror reported that Hess was mentioned in a prayer on Tuesday before a meeting of the Bedford County Board of Commissioners. The paper said county officials said Hess was in a Pittsburgh hospital but had no other details.

The phone at Hess’ district office rang unanswered Wednesday.

The transportation infrastructure bill foundered during budget talks in June, along with Gov. Tom Corbett’s other two major policy initiatives, addressing the public pension funding gap and privatizing state-owned liquor stores.