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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 11, 2021 10:50 AM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ensuring the Mt. Rose Interchange debacle does not happen in the future
In 2015, PennDOT entered into a contract with an out-of-state company to reconstruct the Mt. Rose Interchange at Exit 18 along Interstate 83 in York County. The project completion date was set for 2018.
To date, the project has been subject to cost overruns and constant delays. As I send this memo to you, the project is three years past due.
In fact, at our recent Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing, PennDOT Secretary Gramian said that this project would be completed today (May 11). Today is yet another missed deadline that continues to frustrate every motorist who has had to endure this never-ending project.
The Commonwealth’s procurement code requires PennDOT to award contracts to the “lowest responsible bidder.” While this entity was in fact the lowest bidder, the parent company has a well-documented history of “change order scheming” where the company adds on costs to infrastructure projects over the duration of the construction timeline.
Several stories have been written highlighting this pattern of behavior.
You can read examples of this occurring in other states here, here and here.
My legislation is simple: It would require the agency in charge of evaluating bids to take into consideration well-documented instances of “change order scheming.” While I understand the need to reduce costs, sometimes the true cost of a project will far exceed the initial bid through these deceptive practices. Furthermore, this practice leads to years of delay, frustrating the people of Pennsylvania even more.
I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important measure to ensure the Mt. Rose Interchange debacle never happens again in our Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB812