Governor Wolf Outlines Restore Pennsylvania’s Benefits for Boroughs
HERSHEY, Pa. – On the heels of the introduction of the Restore Pennsylvania legislation, on Tuesday Governor Tom Wolf outlined how the proposal will help boroughs address critical infrastructure needs across Pennsylvania.
Introduced with strong bipartisan support, the governor addressed hundreds of local leaders at the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs Annual Conference.
“Over the last six months, I’ve been traveling across Pennsylvania visiting communities with infrastructure investment needs. Many of these communities were boroughs in need of assistance with expanding broadband, removing blight, and cleaning up contaminants,” said Governor Wolf. “Infrastructure issues like this are why I’ve proposed Restore Pennsylvania to help communities of all sizes, including boroughs, modernize and move ahead, making Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st-century economy.”
Restore Pennsylvania was introduced in the legislature last week with a majority of the General Assembly supporting the historic legislation. House Bill 1585, sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley and Rep. Thomas Murt, has 99 cosponsors and Senate Bill 725, sponsored by Sen. John Yudichak and Sen. Tom Killion has 25 cosponsors. More than 60 stakeholders and municipal leaders are also endorsing the proposal.
Last week, the governor released a series of white papers detailing the investments Restore Pennsylvania would make, helping local communities prevent flooding, eliminate blight, expand broadband, and address other critical infrastructure needs.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding to help towns and cities prepare for flooding and severe weather, upgrade flood walls and levees, replace high-hazard dams, and conduct stream restoration and maintenance.
Broadband is essential to education, quality of life, and the economy. Lack of high-speed internet puts hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians at a disadvantage. Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding to completely bridge the digital divide in every community in Pennsylvania, making Pennsylvania a better place to work, do business, and live.
There are an estimated 300,000 blighted structures in rural and urban communities throughout Pennsylvania. Restore Pennsylvania will increase resources for addressing blight by providing financial resources at the local level to establish land banks and acquire and demolish blighted buildings in order to create new development opportunities or provide new green space.
Many communities face issues with harmful contaminants, such as lead and Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). Abandoned industrial and commercial sites are also still waiting for cleanup to unlock their potential as commercial, residential, or industrial sites. Restore Pennsylvania will address contaminant remediation and help brownfield clean-up throughout the Commonwealth.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide significant new funding to enable new environmental projects and new recreational opportunities across the state, including infrastructure and maintenance in state parks, creation, and revitalization of new local parks, funding best management practices to improve local water quality, and funding for new hiking, biking, and ATV trail projects.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for local road and bridge upgrades, create new flexible funding options for businesses that need local infrastructure upgrades to enable development projects and multimodal and large-scale capital projects for transit.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for infrastructure that helps build manufacturing facilities and other downstream businesses for the natural gas produced in Pennsylvania.
Restore Pennsylvania will help businesses and individuals use more of Pennsylvania’s natural gas in their homes, creating jobs, lowering costs, and improving energy efficiency.
Restore Pennsylvania will invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects throughout the Commonwealth to help catapult Pennsylvania ahead of every state in the country in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure. The plan is funded through the monetization of a commonsense severance tax. The existing impact fee will remain in place.
The projects would be identified by local stakeholders and evaluated through a competitive process to ensure that high-priority, high-impact projects are funded and needs across Pennsylvania are met.
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