Bedford County Residents Discuss Infrastructure Challenges with Wolf Administration
Administration Calls for Vote on Restore Pennsylvania to Help Rural Pennsylvanians
Bedford, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Senior Director of Corporate Relations Sheri Collins joined local officials in Bedford County at the Russell House – Bedford County Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) during a roundtable to discuss how Governor Tom Wolf’s bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania plan can help communities make crucial infrastructure investments across the state.
“Today we heard directly from Bedford County residents about the challenges they face that must be addressed,” said Secretary Davin. “The longer these Pennsylvanians wait for help, the more serious the long-term ramifications will be. No community should lack access to basic infrastructure or be left behind, and we have a solution in the governor’s Restore Pennsylvania plan.”
Last month, Gov. Wolf reaffirmed his commitment to the plan—first introduced more than a year ago—and urged lawmakers to bring it to a vote.
Nearly a million Pennsylvanians lack access to robust, reliable, high-speed internet. According to a report published last year from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, internet connectivity speeds are substantially slower in rural counties than in urban ones. Due to the cost of broadband infrastructure, local municipalities cannot fund the purchase and installation of that infrastructure themselves. If passed into law, Restore Pennsylvania will support every phase of the process from feasibility testing to connection at a level far beyond any existing funding mechanisms.
“Access to high speed internet is as important as access to clean running water and electricity. Pennsylvania’s residents and businesses need access to high speed internet in order to be competitive in the 21st century,” said Director Collins. “These conversations are important for us to learn about the infrastructure barriers that communities across the state are facing, and Pennsylvanians are counting on leadership to take action to close the commonwealth’s digital divide.”
Restore Pennsylvania would invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects throughout the commonwealth. This will help move Pennsylvania forward by increasing financial resources at the local level to acquire and demolish blighted properties, create new development opportunities, and provide new green space. It would also help communities reach the “last mile” in broadband connectivity, mitigate flooding, build roads and bridges, and address other infrastructure needs.
Guided by feedback on the infrastructure needs of Pennsylvania’s communities, Restore Pennsylvania was introduced in 2019 with strong bipartisan support. Since then, Governor Wolf and his administration have made close to 100 stops in communities across the state, garnering official endorsements from more than 60 stakeholders and municipal leaders, and verbal support from hundreds more.
Learn more about what critical infrastructure could be addressed in your community by visiting the Restore Pennsylvania website.
For more information about the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Casey Smith, DCED, 717.783.1132