Millard Successful in Passage of Prevailing Wage Update
11/21/2013
HARRISBURG – Municipalities now have an important tool to lower local road construction costs, according to State Rep. David Millard (R-Berwick).
In a comprehensive transportation funding measure given final approval in the state House today, Millard was successful in ensuring inclusion of language to raise the prevailing wage cost threshold of road construction projects from $25,000 to $100,000.
 
The Prevailing Wage Act of 1961 established “prevailing” minimum wage rates that must be paid on public construction projects. Currently, the rates established under the act reflect union wage rates that often are not representative of the actual wage rates paid in the county.

“Local governments all over Pennsylvania struggle with the crushing financial recourse caused by the archaic Prevailing Wage Act,” Millard said. “Every municipality, even the small ones like we have in Columbia County, are forced to pay Philadelphia-level union wages to contractors for any public works project that costs more than $25,000. This update substantially raises that cost threshold.” 
   
   
Millard has been leading the charge on this measure for several months as the prime sponsor of House Bill 796. The language of Millard’s legislation was essentially included as part of the transportation bill that garnered approval this week.

“The threshold level of $25,000 was set when the Prevailing Wage Act was passed in 1961. If the standard inflationary rate was applied to that number, the equivalent cost today would be almost $190,000,” Millard said. “It’s a huge rarity for any needed municipal construction project in 2013 to cost less than $25,000. Adjusting the cost threshold to $100,000 is a very reasonable, middle-of-the-road approach for us to help municipalities keep costs under control.”

Millard noted that small municipalities, especially in rural areas, may not have many manufacturers or businesses to help boost their tax base. “Rural counties and municipalities may have no choice but to raise taxes to meet the overly burdensome demands dictated by the Prevailing Wage Act,” Millard said. “By enabling our local governments to pay more fair costs for necessary construction projects, these governments can in turn, return savings to taxpayers via property tax adjustments.”

The lawmaker added that the transportation funding bill also includes increased funding for local governments to use in repairing local roads and bridges.

“The inclusion of prevailing wage reform, coupled with increased funding for our local governments as they fix roads, made the tough vote of this transportation funding package a little easier to make. With so many deteriorating bridges and roads in Columbia County – and across Pennsylvania – in desperate need of attention, doing nothing simply is not an option,” Millard noted. “Transportation funding hasn’t been addressed by legislative action since 1997. Governors Ridge and Rendell, as well as our current governor, have pushed for the need for this type of bill, and the day has simply come. For the safety of all of our drivers, and for the general flow of commerce and everyday life, it’s a necessary move for the Legislature to ensure that our infrastructure is maintained.”

The funding measure, including the prevailing wage measure, is expected to be signed into law by the governor by the end of the week.

Representative David Millard
109th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Diane Moore
717.772.9844
dmoore@pahousegop.com 
RepMillard.com / Facebook.com/RepMillard
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