House Passes Millard’s Legislation to Create Funding Stream for Flood Improvement
4/4/2012
HARRISBURG – In an effort to reduce damages incurred by any future flood events throughout Pennsylvania, Rep. David R. Millard (R-Millville) has successfully garnered House passage of his legislation to designate state funding for flood improvement projects, as well as additional assistance for communities still working to rebuild.

“Columbia County was among the hardest hit in flood damages after Tropical Storm Lee last September. Our community pulled together to deal with the hardship, but there are actions that can be taken to help protect from future disasters,” Millard said. “As much as the state is in the position to do so, I believe it’s the state’s duty to responsibly allow for funding to help. This legislation allows for the most fiscally responsible action to move forward on these needed projects.”

Watch Millard’s video comments on this bill: http://youtu.be/6EgBPYh9vBY.

The legislation, House Bill 1916, provides financial assistance for damages to state-owned property and for public property not owned by the Commonwealth, but qualifying for Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance (FEMA) or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistance, that were affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.
The bill designates funding for 62 public improvement projects totaling $6,171,000, as well as 28 capital projects totaling $61,743,000. Projects receiving capital project funding would only qualify if they receive federal funding.

“This legislation is more of just a singular piece in a greater picture of federal funding,” Millard said. “This state funding mechanism has to work in conjunction with other programs. That’s why it’s taken this long after the September flooding to be able to get this bill moving in the Legislature.”

Funding for projects stipulated in this legislation can be generated without raising taxes, the lawmaker said. All dollars associated with this bill will come from interest earnings held by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

“After much negotiation, this bill can provide for these necessary projects, without being a further tax burden on Pennsylvanians,” Millard said.
Two projects that would receive funding through this bill are in Columbia County. First, the Bloomsburg Municipal Authority would receive $3.5 million for improvements and further repairs to the wastewater treatment plant. “Work had been done prior to the 2011 flood, but the overwhelming nature of the damage incurred last fall shows that the improvements were simply not enough. More must be done to keep this facility operational – and our drinking water and sewer systems safe – during future flooding.”

Additionally, state funding of $20 million would be put into position for a Bloomsburg flood wall. “As local residents are well aware, the U.S. Congress first approved funding for the project in the 1990s. The overwhelming urgency of the September flood waters has put this project into a new perspective,” Millard said. “This legislation deals only with positioning state funding, but again, this is simply one piece of a large, bureaucratic puzzle.

“The passage of this legislation is key, however, to having more standing to move ahead in garnering the necessary federal funding to make this a reality.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for approval. Sen. John Gordner (R-Berwick) has introduced companion legislation in the state Senate. House Bill 1916 is part of a significant flood-relief package of legislation passed in the Pennsylvania House in recent weeks.

State Representative David Millard
109th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Diane Moore
dmoore@pahousegop.com
717.772.9844
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