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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2019 09:42 AM
From: Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr. and Rep. Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Restore Pennsylvania
Investing in infrastructure creates jobs and a better future in all communities - rural, urban and suburban.

Unfortunately, after decades of neglect, Pennsylvania has fallen behind.
  • Nearly a million people do not have access to high speed internet in an era when paying bills and managing medical care require it.
  • Heavy rains throughout 2018 demonstrated vividly and tragically that our flood mitigation planning and infrastructure has not kept up, leaving communities and individuals throughout the state with massive cleanup costs, and few options to turn to for assistance.
  • Our smaller cities and towns face blight problems that lower property values, limit new development opportunities, and discourage private investment.
  • Businesses looking to relocate or expand in Pennsylvania struggle to find pad-ready sites to quickly build out new locations.
  • Pennsylvania is not well positioned to take advantage of the manufacturing opportunities created by natural gas.
  • Across the state, too many residents are impacted by contaminants from industries of the past.
  • Many Pennsylvanians live in homes with legacy contamination issues such as lead, while others are learning of risks from recently identified contamination such as PFAS and PFOA.


Restore Pennsylvania, which Representative Murt and I are sponsoring on behalf of Governor Wolf, would be funded by the revenue raised by a commonsense severance tax supported by eight out of ten citizens. Using that revenue, we’ll invest $4.5 billion over the next four-years in significant, high-impact projects to help catapult Pennsylvania ahead of every state in the country in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure.

By encompassing new and expanded programs to address the following five priority infrastructure areas, Restore Pennsylvania projects will be driven by local input about local needs. Projects identified by local stakeholders will be evaluated through a competitive process to ensure that high priority, high impact projects are funded and needs across Pennsylvania are met.

High Speed Internet Access – Grants to fund projects to connect the over 800,000 Pennsylvanians who lack access to robust, reliable, high-speed internet.

Storm Preparedness and Disaster Recovery – Direct funding to communities for streambank, floodplain restoration, and critical flood controls. Establishment of a disaster relief trust fund to provide financial assistance for victims of events not covered by FEMA. Grants to municipalities to address obligations of municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) projects.

Downstream Manufacturing, Business Development, and Energy Infrastructure – Funding to develop natural gas pad-ready locations, emphasizing downstream manufacturers and support for businesses. In addition, grants to help downstream businesses install combined heat and power and micro-grid systems, and direct investment in providing communities and businesses access to natural gas.

Demolition, Revitalization, and Renewal – Financial resources directed towards local land banks for blight acquisition and demolition, as well as brownfield clean-up. Investment in green infrastructure to address maintenance of state parks, preserve working farms, clean abandoned mines, upgrade water and sewer systems, expanded funding of contaminant remediation such as lead in homes and PFAS/PFOA in local water supplies.

Transportation Capital Improvements – Increase opportunities for reliable modes of transportation through creation of Business OnRamp program to enable transportation capacity upgrades, investment in “four-digit” state road repair and maintenance, and public transit system capital projects.

To enable the Restore Pennsylvania plan, a reasonable severance tax would be monetized to provide immediate benefits across Pennsylvania. The tax will be assessed as a fixed amount per thousand cubic feet (MCF) of natural gas severed. The per MCF rate will be determined by the average annual price of gas for the preceding calendar year according to the following schedule:

Price Range Rate per MCF
$0.01 - $2.99 9.1¢
$3.00 - $4.99 10.9¢
$5.00 - $5.99 13.1¢
$6.00 or greater 15.7¢

The volumetric severance tax applies only to wells that are subject to the impact fee. Gas provided in-kind to leaseholders and gas severed from a storage field are not subject to the severance tax. Additionally, gas severed, sold, and delivered by a producer at or within five miles of the producing site for the processing or manufacture of tangible personal property is also exempt.

The proposal does not change the Act 13 impact fee in any way. In addition, the legislation contains important protections for landowners who sign leases with gas companies after the effective date of this bill, including a prohibition on companies subtracting post-production costs from royalty payments and making the severance tax an obligation of the royalty owner.

I hope you’ll join us in sponsoring this important legislation. Should you have any questions, please contact my office at (717) 783-3783.

Introduced as HB1585