Governor Tom Wolf toured the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall to see the unfinished Library Park project, its completion stymied by mudslide damage. Following the tour, he outlined the components of the most aggressive infrastructure plan in generations, Restore Pennsylvania.
“Heavy rains throughout 2018 demonstrated vividly and tragically that our flood mitigation planning and infrastructure have not kept up, leaving communities and individuals throughout the state with massive cleanup costs, and few options to turn to for assistance,” Gov. Wolf said.
“The library and music hall should not have had to use money slated for a green space to repair mudslide damage. But they did what they had to do to make the area safe and secure for residents and visitors.”
The governor’s plan will help communities like Carnegie mitigate the effects of flooding and extreme weather, address blight, and expand broadband access and green infrastructure, restoring communities that simply do not have the funding for these projects.
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.
The governor was joined on the tour and press conference by Senator Wayne Fontana and Representative Anita Kulik.
“This region is no stranger to natural disasters and infrastructure problems,” Sen. Fontana said. “And as the impact of climate change unleashes more weather emergencies more often, we need to do all we can to prevent or minimize flooding, landslides, lead poisoning and so many other tragedies. We cannot continue putting band-aids on gaping wounds and continue kicking the can down the road when it comes to our aging infrastructure.”
“All the municipalities that make up the 45th District have in some way or another been affected by the heavy rains and flooding that continue to hit our Commonwealth,” Rep. Kulik said. “Homes, businesses, municipal properties have all been destroyed at great cost to our constituents. We are very happy to welcome the Governor to Carnegie to hear about the his Restore PA plan — it it helps open the conversation about how to help our citizens.”