According to a new poll from Build Together, a nonpartisan organization, 91% of voters in Pennsylvania support a plan to invest trillions of dollars over the next decade to rebuild and modernize infrastructure (1). Last year, the 2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure gave the state an overall GPA of C-, with infrastructure categories Stormwater, Wastewater, Drinking Water, and Inland Waterways highlighted as opportunities for improvement. The Report Card intends to serve the public by “educating Pennsylvanians about the status of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure so they can, in conjunction with elected officials, make educated decisions on how to prioritize funds to meet current and future needs. The Report Card also makes recommendations to owners and civil engineers on how improve the state’s infrastructure” (2). Although a comprehensive federal infrastructure package has not been passed in the year since the release of the Report Card, as had been expected, efforts to improve continue in Pennsylvania.
The following accomplishments have been completed since the release of the 2018 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure last November:
- Bucks and Montgomery County residents, along with Horsham officials, have nearly completed their ambitious project to build six water filtration systems to remove PFAS contamination (3) related to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, now closed.
- Aqua Pennsylvania completed an $8 million wastewater plant rehabilitation in Treasure Lake (4). Additionally, Aqua plans to invest $550 million in 2019 for the communities it serves [Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia] with infrastructure investments of roughly $1.4 billion through 2021 in existing operations that will rehabilitate and strengthen systems (5).
In our legislature:
- Around the time the Report Card was released, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021 (155)) was passed into law (6).
- April 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed Restore Pennsylvania, a comprehensive $4.5 billion infrastructure plan (7).
- May 2019, PA House Bill 1392 was introduced to, “amend Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in size, weight and load, further providing for maximum gross weight of vehicles; in liquid fuels and fuels tax, further providing for definitions and providing for electric vehicle road use fee; and making editorial changes” (8).
- More recently, Representative Mike Kelly was a lead co-sponsor on the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act (H.R. 2440) which was passed by the U.S House of Representatives (9).
- On October 29, 2019 the U.S House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (H.R. 1497) by voice vote. The bill would reauthorize and increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program, an essential tool for communities to provide safe water for residents and businesses. The bill would also extend the authorization of sewer overflow control grants and enable communities to better manage their wet weather flows and invest in green infrastructure, stormwater diversion/infiltration, water and energy efficiency projects (10).
- In the November election, Philadelphia voters approved a local ballot question authorizing the city to borrow $185 million in capital funding for infrastructure projects (11).
Although much work remains to be done, ASCE is encouraged by the progress made in 2019 and looks forward to advancing the efforts in the next year.
To read the full Report Card, learn more, and take action - visit: http://www.pareportcard.org/PARC2018/default.html#
Also, follow the ASCE Philadelphia Section on any of our platforms for the featured Category of the Month and use #ASCEPAReportCard and #InfrastructureMatters when sharing.
- Israel, Steve, and Ryan Costello. “Infrastructure Is the One Issue Washington Needs to Focus On.” TheHill, The Hill, 31 Oct. 2019, https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/468300-infrastructure-is-the-one-issue-washington-needs-to-focus-on.
- “Report Card for Pennsylvania's Infrastructure.” Pennsylvania Council, American Society of Civil Engineers, 14 Nov. 2018, http://www.pareportcard.org/PARC2018/downloads/ASCE-PA-report_2018.pdf.
- McDaniel, Justine, and Laura McCrystal. “How Three Towns Outside Philly Became 'Trailblazers' on Clean Drinking Water.” Https://Www.inquirer.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Aug. 2019, https://www.inquirer.com/news/horsham-pfas-wells-warminster-water-contamination-20190830.html.
- Haskins, Elaine. “Aqua Pa. Cuts Ribbon on Newly Rehabilitated Treasure Lake West Wastewater Treatment Plant.” TheCourierExpress.com, 8 Nov. 2019, http://www.thecourierexpress.com/news/aqua-pa-cuts-ribbon-on-newly-rehabilitated-treasure-lake-west/article_9fc07d11-bcd7-5af9-aa2b-e9329bc71e23.html.
- “Aqua America Reports Financial Results for Q3 2019.” Business Wire, 4 Nov. 2019, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191104006044/en/Aqua-America-Reports-Financial-Results-Q3-2019.
- Klobuchar, and Amy. “S.3021 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.” Congress.gov, 23 Oct. 2018, https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3021.
- Hughes, Sarah Anne, et al. “Restore Pennsylvania, Explained: Everything You Need to Know about Gov. Tom Wolf's Infrastructure Plan: Pennsylvania Capital.” Star, 14 June 2019, https://www.penncapital-star.com/energy-environment/restore-pennsylvania-explained-everything-you-need-to-know-about-gov-tom-wolfs-infrastructure-plan/.
- Legislativate Data Processing Center. “Bill Information (History) - House Bill 1392; Regular Session 2019-2020.” The Official Website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly., https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2019&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1392.
- “Investing in America: Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.” Issues | Committee Activity | The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/investing-in-america-unlocking-the-harbor-maintenance-trust-fund-act.
- “Water Infrastructure Bills Advance in House.” CitiesSpeak, 5 Nov. 2019, https://citiesspeak.org/2019/11/05/water-infrastructure-bills-advance-in-house/.
- Madej, Patricia, and Anna Orso. “Marsy's Law Got Wide Support in Pa., Even Though It Won't Count Yet.” Https://Www.inquirer.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 Nov. 2019, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/philadelphia-2019-ballot-questions-marsys-law-20191106.html.