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03/07/2019

Wolf Administration and Local Leaders Highlight Past Projects as Models for Restore Pennsylvania Success

Harrisburg, PA – Today in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Deputy Director for Preparedness Steve Bekanich was joined by Luzerne County Office of Emergency Management officials; Thomas Blaskiewicz, Mayor of the West Pittston; and others to discuss how Restore Pennsylvania could benefit disaster survivors when damages do not meet federally established thresholds for federal aid.

“Much of the Commonwealth has been suffering from record-breaking rain and catastrophic flooding; two natural disasters towns like West Pittston know all too well,” said Bekanich. “Chronically flooded towns like these are important places for us to highlight.  These communities are on the front lines of disaster response, breathing sighs of relief when federal disaster funds are made available, and dealing with the consequences if those funds don’t materialize.”

Restore Pennsylvania would invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects to rebuild Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. Additionally, it seeks to eliminate significant gaps in the disaster safety net by establishing a disaster relief trust fund for individuals who suffer losses that are not compensated through grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, or other programs.

The proposal also would provide funding for municipalities to prevent flooding via streambank restoration, levees or floodwalls, and stream restoration and maintenance.

“Flooding is a part of life in our town, and that is how we know dollars spent on remediation projects are long-term investments that ultimately save tax payers from even more costly recovery/rebuilding projects after the fact,” said Blaskiewicz. “Restore Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of preparation for future disasters, while providing our residents with a much-needed lifeline in the event federal thresholds aren’t met.”

Flooding Prevention and Recovery

Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding for flood prevention that will protect against severe weather and save homes and businesses in flood prone areas across the state. Restore Pennsylvania will provide funding to help towns and cities prepare for flooding and severe weather, upgrade flood walls and levees, replace high-hazard dams, and conduct stream restoration and maintenance.

Restore Pennsylvania will also establish a disaster relief trust fund to assist individuals who suffer losses that are not compensated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other programs.

A detailed overview of Restore Pennsylvania, which would be funded through a commonsense severance tax, is available online.

More information about how to prepare for an emergency, including specific information for people with specialized needs such as pets or access and functional needs, is available on the ReadyPA website.

MEDIA CONTACT: L. Paul Vezzetti, lvezzetti@pa.gov

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