Governor Wolf: Restore Pennsylvania Will Help York County Battle Blight

March 20, 2019

York, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf outlined the components of the most aggressive infrastructure plan in generations, Restore Pennsylvania. The governor’s plan will help communities in York County 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. “So many communities deserve the infrastructure attention needed to create a bright economic future for residents and businesses. Unfortunately, after decades of neglect and declining federal investment, Pennsylvania is falling behind, and we need an aggressive 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.

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.

“We are using the tools given to us, but they simply are not sufficient to do the job properly,” said York County Commissioner Doug Hoke. “I’m certain the other 66 counties of PA join York County in needing assistance to modernize our public infrastructure and eliminate blight, to restore our communities and bring them into the 21st Century. Restore PA is doing what the state should do, lead in creating solutions and not leaving it up to local communities or residents to undertake more burden on local property taxes.”

In York, the governor outlined how Restore Pennsylvania will help the city and York County address blight. There are approximately 500 to 700 blighted properties in York County, and the municipalities where these properties are located are not able to fund the demolitions themselves.

“Blighted homes threaten residents’ health and safety, cost local governments for enforcement and maintenance, reduce property values and tax revenue, and make communities less attractive for investment,” said Governor Wolf. “Some of these blighted properties are in desirable locations but a lack of funding has prevented communities from large initiatives that would allow them to be redeveloped. Restore Pennsylvania is needed to property support our communities.”

View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan here.

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