Community Issues

Plan to Help Flood Victims Faces Uphill Battle

Gov. Tom Wolf was in Bridgeville today to propose his plan for, among other things, helping families and businesses hurt by flooding in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf was in Bridgeville today to propose his plan for, among other things, helping families and businesses hurt by flooding in Pennsylvania. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Bridgeville leaders, and local businesses owners who experienced severe flooding last summer joined him.

Wolf announced an infrastructure initiative called Restore Pennsylvania, which would be funded with money from a natural gas severance tax that is part of his budget proposal but not yet law. Wolf has tried before and failed to get a severance tax passed in the legislature.

If funded, Restore Pennsylvania would invest $4.5 billion over the next four-years in significant projects throughout the state. They include flood-prevention projects like upgrading flood walls and levees, replacing high-hazard dams, and conducting stream restoration and maintenance. The project would also establish a disaster relief trust fund to assist with damages that aren't covered by federal or state programs.

The governor said he hopes the legislature will pass the severance tax to fund his program, which he says, could catapult Pennsylvania ahead of every state in the country in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure.

Wolf chose Bridgeville for the announcement because it's a town that knows all about the headache and heartache of flash flooding. The National Weather Service reported that more rain fell over the Bridgeville area in June 2018 than had fallen in any other June in the past decade. It's estimated 126 homes and 48 businesses were affected in some way by flooding on June 20th.

"I am encouraged and excited about the potential opportunities of Restore Pennsylvania," said Lori Collins, Bridgeville Borough Manager. "This proposal would assist a small municipality such as Bridgeville Borough with large hazard mitigation project needs assistance that has not been available to us in the past; allowing us the opportunity to invest in our community to provide a safe, prospering region for residents and business owners, and the foresight to plan for future economic development within our community," Collins continued.

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