Governor Wolf Outlines Plan to Restore Critical Pennsylvania Infrastructure
January 31, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Massive Rebuilding Plan Funded by a Severance Tax Will Prevent Flooding, Eliminate Blight, Expand Broadband to All Pennsylvanians
Governor Wolf’s vision for Pennsylvania includes vibrant towns and cities with new development, opportunities in rural and disadvantaged areas, and a modern, interconnected commonwealth.
“Over the past four years my administration has worked hard to improve our infrastructure and build strong, stable communities across the commonwealth,” said Governor Wolf. “We’ve made progress, but we still have more work to do.”
To achieve these goals, Governor Wolf is announcing a major new infrastructure initiative, Restore Pennsylvania, funded by the monetization of a commonsense severance tax. 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.
“It is far past time that Pennsylvanians stop allowing our commonwealth to be the only state losing out on the opportunity to reinvest in our communities,” said Governor Wolf. “And as long as that is allowed to continue – my vision of a restored Pennsylvania that is ready to compete in the 21st century economy will never become reality.”
Encompassing new and expanded programs to address five priority infrastructure areas outlined below, Restore Pennsylvania projects will be driven by local input about local needs. Projects identified by local stakeholders will be evaluated through a competitive process to ensure that high priority, high impact projects are funded and needs across Pennsylvania are met.
High Speed Internet Access
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. Grants will be available to support installation of infrastructure to bring high speed internet to every corner of the commonwealth. Funding will support every phase of the process from feasibility testing to connection.
Storm Preparedness and Disaster Recovery
Critical Flood Control Infrastructure
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for flood prevention that will protect against severe weather and save homes and businesses in flood prone areas across the state. 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.
Helping Families Rebuild
Restore Pennsylvania will establish a disaster relief trust fund to assist individuals who suffer losses that are not compensated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other programs.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide grants to municipalities moving forward with Pollutant Reduction Plans to help them implement creative solutions to comply with their stormwater mandates and transform their communities. Additional state funding will reduce the need for new stormwater fees, which have proven unpopular where they have been proposed. Additional incentives will be provided for communities that are working collaboratively with their neighbors to tackle the problem in the most efficient manner possible.
Downstream Manufacturing, Business Development, and Energy Infrastructure
Downstream Manufacturing: Pad Development, Business Development, Site Selection, and Energy Efficiency
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for infrastructure that helps build manufacturing facilities and other downstream businesses for the natural gas produced in Pennsylvania while helping businesses and individuals use more of Pennsylvania’s natural gas in their homes, creating jobs, lowering costs, and improving energy efficiency.
Getting Natural Gas to Businesses
Restore Pennsylvania will provide increased spending flexibility to ensure that more communities and businesses across the state have access to low-cost, clean-burning natural gas. Restore Pennsylvania will also provide grants to help downstream businesses install combined heat and power and micro-grid systems at existing or new facilities.
Demolition, Revitalization, and Renewal
Blight Demolition and Redevelopment
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. The funding will be administered by entities established by the legislature as land banks or demolition funds.
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding to ensure the continuation of Pennsylvania’s Brownfields program, ensuring that more sites can be returned to use for recreation, or returned to the tax rolls as commercial, residential, or industrial sites.
Restore Pennsylvania will fund expanded efforts to remove lead and other contaminants from communities.
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, and funding for new hiking, biking, and ATV trail projects.
Transportation Capital Projects
Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for local road 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.
PA Back Roads
Restore Pennsylvania will accelerate progress of projects to resurface, repave and repair four-digit roads and provide technical assistance and funding for dirt and gravel roads throughout the state.
Restore Pennsylvania will create a flexible funding tool to enable capacity upgrades needed to support development where Transportation Infrastructure Investment Funds are not available.
Public Transit System Projects
Restore Pennsylvania will support new capital projects at public transit capital projects throughout the state.
Many members of the legislature recognize the need to invest in communities across Pennsylvania.
“As the Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, I appreciate the difficulty behind fairly and effectively raising revenue,” said Rep. Jake Wheatley. “This is a reasonable severance tax, with exciting new ideas on how to maximize our investment. That’s why I’m pleased to be one of the prime sponsors of this legislation, along with looking forward to working with the governor and my Republican colleagues to finally get this done.”
“Restore Pennsylvania is a bold and innovative plan to inject billions of dollars into infrastructure projects across the commonwealth through a fair severance tax,” said Senator John Yudichak. “I applaud Governor Wolf for working in a bipartisan fashion to craft a plan that will benefit all Pennsylvanians.”
“It is time that we faced our responsibilities honestly and tapped our vast natural gas resources in a way that will allow us to invest in Pennsylvania’s future success,” Rep. Thomas Murt said. “Restore Pennsylvania will help us upgrade transportation infrastructure, fight blight, and address contamination issues like lead and PFAS in my district and throughout the commonwealth.”
“We can no longer afford to lose billions of dollars by not having a sensible severance tax on drillers,” said Sen. Tom Killion. “I thank Governor Wolf for his strong leadership on this issue. I am proud to work with Senator Yudichak on passing the governor’s proposal in the senate. Let’s finally get this done for Pennsylvania’s families.”
View the full plan here.