Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently proposed a major initiative to fund a wide range of infrastructure in the Commonwealth, including stormwater management, flood control and green infrastructure. “Restore Pennsylvania” — funded by a natural gas severance tax — would invest $4.5 billion over the next four years on a range of projects.
The initiative would provide new funding for environmental projects and new recreational opportunities, among them:
- Infrastructure and maintenance in state parks; creation and revitalization of new local parks; and funding for new hiking, biking, and ATV trail projects
- Flood prevention to help cities and towns prepare for flooding and severe weather, including replacing high-hazard dams and conducting stream restoration
- Grants to municipalities to help them comply with stormwater control mandates, which can include streamside buffers, urban trees, and land conservation
- Resources that will address blight by among other things replacing dilapidated buildings with green space
- Continuation of the brownfields program, cleanups which also can address new opportunities for recreation and playfields
- Technical assistance and funding for dirt and gravel roads throughout the state
Restore Pennsylvania would also support a number of other types of infrastructure projects, such as high-speed internet access and public transit.
Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources — and a long-time participant in the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership — noted: “We need these funds to realize DCNR’s goal of having a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvania citizen; to close what have been identified as the ‘Top Ten Trail Gaps’ by the end of 2019; and to remain a driving force behind grants which last year totaled $50 million for 280 projects across Pennsylvania. All will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities.”
The legislature is taking up the proposal and the Governor’s office is optimistic about the outcome. Read more about Restore Pennsylvania.