|March 24, 2022 09:44 AM
|Representative Natalie Mihalek and Rep. Dan L. Miller
|All House members
|Waterfront Development Tax Credit Cap Increase
|We will soon be introducing legislation which would expand the existing Waterfront Development Tax Credit Program by increasing the total amount of tax credits which may be granted in any fiscal year to $10 million. The Pennsylvania Waterfront Development Tax Credit (WDTC) Program, established by Act 84 of 2016, is an essential tool that helps communities fulfill the potential of their waterways. Established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly with bipartisan support in 2016, the WDTC Program encourages private investment in waterfront property that creates public access to the water, increases property values, restores ecology, and creates jobs and economic growth.
Many municipalities, both urban and rural, are located on our Commonwealth’s rivers, lakes, creeks and other waterfronts. These waterfront areas offer opportunities for economic development and public recreation which contribute to the livelihood of the municipality and the surrounding area as well as to the quality of life of residents and visitors alike. However, these areas often require significant investment to re-develop due to barriers including abandoned industrial uses and contamination. Despite the desire to enhance waterfront areas, access to sufficient funding presents a formidable obstacle.
The “Waterfront Development Tax Credit” is available to individuals and/or businesses that contribute to certified nonprofit waterfront development organizations. Both the organizations and the projects need approval by the Department of Community and Economic Development prior to participation in the tax credit program. Contributions are used for specific waterfront development projects, such as: streets and public rights-of-way; waterfront parks, gardens and open spaces; access to public utilities, erosion control, storm water management and other environmental projects which promote economic development; water transportation facilities for use by the public, including water transit landings and boat docking; and amenities, including infrastructure and recreational projects. This tax credit program is a proven public/private partnership and we hope to expand it so more development can occur along our waterways all across our Commonwealth.
The tax credit is currently capped at $1.5 million statewide, with growing demand rapidly outpacing the amount of credits available. In 2021, the total request for Waterfront Development Tax Credits grew by 60% as compared to the previous year. The legislation that will soon be introduced would increase the cap to $10 million to encourage more private investment in waterfront property and continue to spur economic development, environmental improvements and public recreational enhancements. Expanding the Waterfront Development Tax Credit to $10 million annually will help waterfront development organizations by incentivizing individuals and private companies to contribute to difficult-to-fund capital projects like new public riverfront parks, trails, and open spaces.
Please consider joining us in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
Introduced as HB2559