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Governor Wolf: Restore Pennsylvania Will Help Cambria County Battle Blight

February 06, 2019

Johnstown, PA – Governor Tom Wolf outlined the components of the most aggressive infrastructure plan in generations, Restore Pennsylvania. The governor’s plan will help communities like Johnstown address blight, expand broadband access, mitigate the effects of localized flooding, and expand green infrastructure, restoring communities after long neglect.

“My vision for Pennsylvania includes vibrant towns and cities with new development, opportunities in rural and disadvantaged areas, and a modern, interconnected commonwealth,” said Governor Wolf. “Unfortunately, after decades of neglect and declining federal investment, Pennsylvania is falling behind, and we need a bold plan to get us back on track.”

To achieve these goals, Governor Wolf announced an ambitious 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.

Encompassing new and expanded programs to address five priority infrastructure areas including high speed internet access, storm preparedness and disaster recovery, downstream manufacturing, business development, and energy infrastructure, demolition, revitalization, and renewal, and transportation capital projects, Restore Pennsylvania projects will be driven by local input about community 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.

“I am encouraged by Governor Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania initiative. Our city can greatly benefit from efforts focused on improved infrastructure and eliminating blight,” said Melissa Komar, Executive Director, Johnstown Redevelopment Authority. “We are a proud community that has always been defined by rebirth and resiliency. Our goal is to continually create a more robust economy in our county. We look forward to working with the governor and his administration on the implementation of this initiative to create a better Johnstown and Cambria County.”

“The Restore Pennsylvania plan will allow for communities across the commonwealth to invest into their neighborhoods and create a safer and more robust region, which will allow them to attract new residents and businesses, and we look forward to seeing how Restore Pennsylvania will benefit Cambria County and its municipalities like the City of Johnstown,” said Renee Daly, Executive Director, Redevelopment Authority of Cambria County.

In Johnstown, the governor outlined how Restore Pennsylvania will help the city and Cambria County address blight. There are approximately 1,800 blighted properties in Cambria County,
and the municipalities where these properties are located are not able to fund the demolitions themselves.

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.

Brownfield Clean-Up
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.

Contaminant Remediation
Restore Pennsylvania will fund expanded efforts to remove lead and other contaminants from communities.

Green Infrastructure
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.

View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan here.

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