$700,000 in Funding Awarded to Armstrong County Local Housing Projects

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency awarded $700,000 in Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) funding for four Armstrong County projects, according to Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41), who chairs the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, and Reps. Donna Oberlander (R-63) and Abby Major (R-60). Funding for these PHARE funding awards was derived from the state’s Marcellus Shale Impact Fee and Realty Transfer Tax. 

Projects receiving awards include:

  • The Armstrong County PHARE Emergency Shelter Program ($150,000) – The Armstrong County PHARE Emergency Shelter Program will offer shelter apartment units to residents of the county who are homeless and referred by partnering organizations (Armstrong County Community Action Agency, Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, Armstrong-Indiana Behavioral and Developmental Health Program, Children Youth and Family Services, and the County Jail and Probation).
  • The Brush With Kindness Critical Home Repair Program ($100,000) – Armstrong Habitat for Humanity will use these funds to make critical home repairs for low-income residents of Armstrong County.
  • The Former Apollo High School Redevelopment Project ($350,000) – The Armstrong Industrial Development Council intends to use these funds for the acquisition and demolition of the former Apollo High School building in Apollo Borough to pave the way to construct affordable rental apartments for area seniors.
  • The Kittanning Housing Rehabilitation ($100,000) – Armstrong Habitat for Humanity intends to use the funding to build two energy efficient homes on the site of two blighted properties that have already been acquired and demolished by the organization.

Contact:           Jeremy Dias                jdias@pasen.gov

PA General Assembly Approves Six Pittman Bridge and Interchange Designations

HARRISBURG – Legislation – House Bill 1560 – approved by the General Assembly this week contains six bridge and interchange designations sponsored by Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41):

  • Specialist Five Timothy Rice Memorial Bridge – The bridge, identified as Bridge Key 19033, located on northbound State Route 119 over State Route 286 in White Township, Indiana County. (Senate Bill 759)
  • Sergeant Charles R. Learn Memorial Bridge – The bridge, identified as Bridge Key 39537, located on that portion of State Route 1005 over a tributary of Crooked Creek, Rayne Township, Indiana County. (Senate Bill 780)
  • PVT William L. Hadden Memorial Bridge – The bridge, identified as Bridge Key 57053, located over Dixon Run at the intersection of State Route 1012 to Pennsylvania Route 403 in Green Township, Indiana County. (Senate Bill 851)
  • Carl E. Keith Memorial Bridge – The bridge, identified as Bridge Key 19231, located on State Route 1014 in Green Township, Indiana County, over the abandoned Conrail Railroad. (Senate Bill 866)
  • Sergeant First Class Randy McCaulley Memorial Bridge – The bridge, identified as Bridge Key 41272, located on Pennsylvania Route 286 over Crooked Creek in Rayne Township, Indiana County. (Senate Bill 891)
  • Lieutenant Colonel William A. Rush III Memorial Interchange – The interchange of U.S. Route 119 with U.S. Route 422 in White Township, Indiana County. (Senate Bill 1221)

Contact:           Jeremy Dias                jdias@pasen.gov

 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Sen. Pittman to Speak at Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) will speak during a luncheon of the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 18.

The luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kittanning Country Club, 218 Bell Top Drive, Kittanning, PA 16201.

Sen. Pittman – who joined the Pennsylvania Senate following a special election victory on May 21, 2019, to fill the remaining term of Sen. Don White, and was reelected to a 4-year term in 2020 – chairs the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee and he’s the vice-chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. He is also a member of four other Senate committees: Appropriations, Banking and Insurance, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Judiciary.

Additionally, Pittman serves as the Senate Republican Caucus representative on the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) Board of Directors.

The senator has been a leader in the effort to promote economic development, job creation initiatives and working to strengthen the local economy of the 41st Senatorial District, including all of Armstrong and Indiana counties, and parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties. He has staunchly opposed the carbon tax that will be created by the governor’s plan to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The carbon tax would severely impact the region’s coal and electric generation sectors and potentially cause the loss of thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.

WHAT: Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WHERE: Kittanning Country Club, 218 Bell Top Drive, Kittanning, PA 16201

Contacts:

Jeremy Dias  jdias@pasen.gov

Lynda Pozzuto   lynda@akstrong.com

 

 

Street Improvements in Starford and Commodore, Indiana County, to Receive Multimodal Transportation Funding

HARRISBURG – Street improvements for two Indiana County communities will receive $145,729 in funding through Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, according to Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) and Rep. Brian Smith (R-66).

“These are very important and long overdue improvements to streets in the communities of Starford and Commodore,” said Pittman. “These investments are a continuation of our efforts to improve the road network throughout northern Indiana County, and while there is a lot more work to do, this is a very important step in the right direction and I am confident there will be more to come in the future.”

“State funding for projects that improve motorist and pedestrian safety have important, far-reaching impacts for the citizens we serve,” Smith said.  “This funding enables these critical infrastructure projects to be completed more rapidly and cost-effectively for local taxpayers.”

The funding will be used to reconstruct or rehabilitate several roads in the villages of Starford and Commodore, which are in Green Township, Indiana County. The roads to be improved include Lighthouse Road; Railroad, City, Teak, Short, Teddy, Parker, and Rhododendron streets in Starford; and Olive and Redbud streets in Commodore.   

The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth. Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.

Contacts:

Jeremy Dias (Sen. Pittman)
jdias@pasen.gov

Ty McCauslin (Rep. Smith)
Tmccausl@pahousegop.com

Senate Votes to Ban Unsecured Ballot Drop Boxes and Private Funding of Election Operations

HARRISBURG – State Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) voted today to safeguard the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections as the Senate approved legislation that would prevent the future use of unsecured ballot drop boxes and ban private money to fund election operations.

Senate Bill 1200 would require mail-in ballots that are not returned in the mail to be returned only to the County Board of Elections office, effectively eliminating drop boxes in Pennsylvania. 

Drop boxes were permitted by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in 2020, despite the fact that they were never authorized or intended by the General Assembly through the legislative process. Since that time, numerous examples of drop boxes being misused have been discovered throughout the state, including:

  • Video evidence from Lehigh County showing ballot harvesting in the 2021 General Election.
  • Video evidence from Lackawanna County showing a man allegedly harvesting multiple ballots into a drop box during the 2021 Primary Election.
  • Video evidence from Montgomery County showing ballot harvesting in the 2021 General Election.
  • Memorandum from Lehigh County explaining how detectives reviewed video from four different drop boxes in the county and determined there were overvotes at each of the locations.
  • Testimony from a Luzerne County Judge of Elections indicating an individual admitting to repeatedly harvesting ballots at a drop box, not realizing it was even illegal.

Eliminating unsecured ballot drop boxes will not negatively impact voter access. There are more than 10,000 publicly available locations across the Commonwealth that voters can use to return their ballots.

“There is nothing more fundamental than ensuring the integrity of our electoral process,” said Pittman. “The reality is that a significant segment of our electorate does not have faith in the validity of our electoral process. I consider that to be a direct threat to the stability of our constitutional republic.”

“So, we’re taking significant steps to restore faith and integrity in our electoral process,” Pittman continued. “The chain of custody of ballots is so critically important. Voters have the opportunity to vote in many ways, forms and fashions. We need to make sure those ballots are secure and that we have a clear understanding of the chain of custody, and that they’re counted correctly and accurately, to ensure every vote really does count.”

Senate Bill 982 would ban any state employee or county from accepting money from outside groups to pay for the administration of elections in Pennsylvania.

The legislation was created in response to the use of grant money from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) during the 2020 Election. Correspondence between CTCL officials, the Wolf Administration and county officials demonstrates that funding was intentionally directed predominantly to counties that favor Democrats.

Democrat-leaning counties were selectively invited to apply for the grants before Republican-leaning counties were even made aware of the funding. Philadelphia and its surrounding counties received more than $18 million from CTCL in the 2020 Election, while other counties received significantly less.

For example, Philadelphia received $8.83 per voter in CTCL funding in 2020. On the other side of the state, Venango County, with a Republican voter registration advantage, received only $.64 per voter in CTCL funding in 2020.

Both bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Contacts:

Jeremy Dias
jdias@pasen.gov

Fight Against Wolf Administration’s Carbon Tax on Electricity Consumers Will Continue in Court

Harrisburg – After Senate Democrats failed to stand up for Pennsylvania workers and ratepayers today, the fight against Gov. Tom Wolf’s $781 million carbon tax will continue in court, Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) said.

“Food insecurity, housing insecurity, energy insecurity, an inadequate minimum wage – all significant issues for which many in the Senate look for solutions day in and day out,” said Sen. Pittman during floor debate. “There is a universal solution to all of those insecurities and all of those inadequacies: it’s a family-sustaining job. J-O-B-S.”

“It should be the preeminent reason that we walk on the floor of this chamber every single day – to preserve, protect, defend and grow family-sustaining jobs,” Sen. Pittman continued. “As we consider an override of the governor’s veto, a vote ‘yes’ is to preserve, protect and defend blue-collar, family-sustaining, union-wage jobs that come from our energy sector.”

Pittman added that if protecting jobs wasn’t enough of a reason to override the governor’s veto, protecting all Pennsylvania consumers of electricity from paying higher bills, and ensuring energy security so our national security can’t be threatened by nations like Russia, should be.

While Republicans stood united to override the governor’s veto of the resolution that disapproves of Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Democrats voted against the state’s economic interests in favor of this discredited climate policy that will spike residential electricity bills 30% and kill 22,000 jobs.

Just last week, impartial analysis from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) concluded RGGI could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers above the administration’s own year-old projections for the program. The IFO also warned members that “those costs would be pushed through to final customers.”

RGGI will cripple Pennsylvania’s economic standing as a leading energy producer and leave the nation more reliant on fossil fuels from hostile nations than ever before, without ever achieving any of RGGI’s purported air quality improvements, said Sen. Pittman.

Multiple independent reports show that emissions from Pennsylvania’s power sector declined at a comparable rate to the other 10 RGGI states over the last decade, further undermining the flimsy justification the administration uses to force this unconstitutional tax onto 13 million residents.

“I never would have thought I’d hear some of my friends on the other side of the aisle embrace corporate America on an issue such as this while turning their backs on the hard-working, middle-class union families in this commonwealth,” Sen. Pittman observed.

Litigation to stop final implementation of RGGI in Pennsylvania is pending in state court.

Contact:           Jeremy Dias                jdias@pasen.gov

Public hearing on housing issues

Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee

Thursday, April 7, 2022  |  10:00 a.m.

Independence Visitor Center, Philadelphia
599 Market St

1 N. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA

Agenda

Public hearing on housing issues

Schedule

10:00 am: Opening Remarks

  • Senator Joe Pittman, Chair – Urban Affairs and Housing Committee
  • Senator Nikil Saval, Minority Chair

10:15 am: Panel #1: Blight Prevention and Deferred Maintenance

  • Professor Vincent Reina – Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania – Testimony
  • Steve Luxton – Executive Director and CEO of the Energy Coordinating Agency – Testimony
  • David Thomas – President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) – Testimony

11:00 am: Panel #2: Blight Response and Land Banks

  • Jenny Greenberg – Executive Director of Neighborhood Gardens Trust – Testimony
  • Angel Rodriguez – Executive Director of the Philadelphia Land Bank – Testimony
  • Andy Toy – Policy Director at the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) – Testimony

11:45 am: Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Tele-Town Hall

March 15, 2022