New Poll Shows Overwhelming Public Support For Restore PA Infrastructure Plan; When Will It Translate Into Legislative Votes?

A new Franklin & Marshall Poll released August 8 finds broad voter support-- 69 percent-- for Gov. Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania Infrastructure Plan funded by a severance tax on natural gas.

The question asked by the pollster even highlighted needed environmental infrastructure improvements first-- “Restore Pennsylvania is a plan proposed by the governor to help local communities improve stormwater management to reduce flooding, eliminate blight, expand broadband access, and address other local infrastructure needs.”

On June 5, the $4.5 billion Restore Pennsylvania Infrastructure Plan legislation was introduced with strong bipartisan support as Senate Bill 725, sponsored by Sen. Yudichak and Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware) with 25 cosponsors (22 Democrats, 3 Republicans) and House Bill 1585, sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) and Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery), with 99 cosponsors [83 Democrats, 16 Republicans].

There are nearly enough co-sponsors to pass the bill in the House and Senate.  It takes 102 votes for a bill to pass the House and 26 in the Senate, if Republican leadership in the Senate and House allow a vote.

For an overview of the proposed infrastructure plan, read the Restore Pennsylvania Infrastructure Plan article.

But this broad support has not translated into legislative district by district pressure on House and Senate members to actually vote for an infrastructure improvement plan or for any real increase in green infrastructure and environmental restoration funding…. Yet.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said in June the Senate may address it in the Fall, “at the earliest.”

“It’s not been vetted yet, and we’re certainly not going to create a revenue source that could be a WAM [walking around money] platform, without knowing how this money is going to be spent,” Sen. Corman said.

The same poll asked voters what they think is the most important problem facing Pennsylvania today.  The Environment ranked 9th on that list at 2 percent, interestingly it is tied with values and morals, global events and above energy issues and gasoline prices (1 percent). 

Taxes (16 percent), education (13 percent), government/politicians (12 percent), unemployment (12 percent) and crime, drugs, violence, guns (8 percent) are the top 5 worries


One option several Republican Senators are ready to introduce is authorizing more natural gas drilling on DCNR’s State Forest lands, however, that proposal is an empty promise.  It was introduced June 5 as Senate Bill 716 (Bartolotta-R-Washington).

In a public statement headlined “Gov. Wolf’s Restore PA Plan Would More Likely Destroy PA,” House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) called the plan “a $4.5 billion, debt-financed slush fund to be allocated at the whim of a new government board and paid for by yet another job-killing tax on the natural gas production industry.”

Speaker Turzai said a better solution is to adopt the “Energize PA” package of taxpayer funded natural gas use subsidies and create a new political commission to take over DEP’s job of setting environmental standards and making individual permit decisions.

The House is scheduled back in voting session September 17 and the Senate on September 23.  We’ll see what happens then.

Related Article This Week:

Sen. Yudichak, DEP Secretary Highlight Benefits Of Proposed Restore PA Plan To Turn Brownfield Site Into Recreation Area

Related Articles - State Budget:

Major Environmental Priorities Not Addressed In FY 2019-20 State Budget, Shell Game Continues

Politicians In Harrisburg Are Proud Of Their New State Budget! -- Meanwhile In The Real World…

“Do Unto Those Downstream As You Would Have Those Upstream Do Unto You"

Growing Greener Coalition: Cuts Made To Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Funding Could Have Planted 32,000 Acres of Stream Buffers

Growing Greener Coalition: Lawmakers Name Hellbender Clean Water Ambassador, Then Cut $16 Million For Clean Water Projects

CBF: PA Elected Leaders Failed To Show The Will, Leadership To Restore Pennsylvania's Rivers And Streams

CBF: State Needs To Step Up Support For Those Working Hard To Cleanup PA's Rivers And Streams - Harry Campbell

Op-Ed: Conservation Efforts Lose Out In State Budget - Len Lichvar

Oil & Gas Lease Fund Was Part Of The Public Trust; PEDF Says Court Ignores PA Supreme Court Decision


Poll: Wolf’s Natural Gas Tax Backed Restore PA Infrastructure Plan Enjoys Majority Support

Yudichak, DEP Secretary Tout Severance Tax Proposal To Aid Nanticoke Park Plan

Officials Say Nanticoke Land Can Be Transformed If Restore PA Passes

Officials Say Deferred Repairs, Budget Cuts Threaten Keystone, Other State Parks

Parks & Forests Foundation, DCNR Staffers Highlight Pymatuning State Park’s Needs

Editorial: Nanticoke’s Long-Suffering Recreation Park Plan Underscores Need For Restore PA

Letter: What Do Natural Gas Happy PA Politicians Mean?

Lancaster Farming: Farms Need Help If Watershed Improvement Objectives Are To Succeed

York College Receives $6 Million RCAP Grant To Redevelop Brownfield Site

Stormwater Fees Hit DuBoistown In Lycoming County [Because State Doesn’t Do Its Share]

>> Click Here For Week’s Worth Of Environmental & Energy NewsClips

[Posted: August 11, 2019]


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