Pittsburgh, Pa.− December 2, 2020 − Senator Lindsey M. Williams (D-Allegheny) and Senator Katie Muth (D-Chester, Montgomery, Berks) announced that they will soon introduce legislation authorizing PennDOT to borrow the funding needed to continue ongoing large construction projects throughout Pennsylvania.
As a result of decreased revenues due to COVID-19, the PennDOT Motor License Fund cash reserves had become dangerously low, creating an urgent need for legislative authority to borrow funds in order to pay their December bills and continue large construction projects. However, when the legislature passed the FY 2020-2021 Supplemental Budget on November 20, language permitting PennDOT to borrow these funds was removed from an earlier draft of the fiscal code during final negotiations. The removal of this language jeopardized more than 240,000 jobs across the Commonwealth, as PennDOT would have been forced to shut down more than 6,000 ongoing projects, including bridge repairs, roadway safety enhancements, and infrastructure expansion to accommodate traffic demands.
“A short-term funding solution was worked out on Monday, preventing over 240,000 Pennsylvanians from losing their jobs right before the holidays,” said Senator Williams. “But this last-minute bandaid isn’t enough—we need a legislative solution that provides the funding needed to continue these critical infrastructure projects and to ensure that nearly a quarter million of our neighbors don’t lose their jobs.”
“These projects are vital to motorist safety, provide economic security for many hardworking Pennsylvanians and are critical to infrastructure stability and expansion,” said Senator Muth. “While this temporary fix allows for projects to continue and our workers to remain employed through the holiday season, we need a permanent solution that ensures long-term planning and continued improvements of these critical transportation corridors without unnecessary interruptions.”
The full co-sponsorship memo can be found here. The full language of the legislation has been drafted and can be found here.