Gov. Wolf Announces Billion-Dollar Plan to Fix Toxic Schools, Address Lead Across Pennsylvania

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release,  Public Health Governor Tom Wolf today presented a series of proposed 2020-21 budget items totaling more than $1.1 billion to support reducing the risks to Pennsylvanians of lead and asbestos, and remediating existing toxins in schools, day care centers, homes, and public water systems.“Decades ago, well-intentioned Pennsylvanians constructed our homes, schools, waterways and other structures out of asbestos and lead because they were thought to be harmless, even superior materials,” Gov. Wolf said. “Now we know the serious harm both can cause. To build a better Pennsylvania, we first need to fix our foundation, which is why the five lead and asbestos removal initiatives I’m outlining today are so important.”Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget investments to address asbestos and lead include:Expanding the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to SchoolsGovernor Wolf is proposing that up to $1 billion in grants from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) be used for lead and asbestos remediation in schools, a problem plaguing many of the state’s aging school buildings and causing health concerns for students and their parents, teachers, and staff.RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.Leveraging CHIP Health Services InitiativeThe Department of Human Services is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a Health Services Initiative (HSI) to improve the health of children and families in Pennsylvania by increasing funding of lead remediation activities in places where children have been exposed to high levels of lead.Remediation projects could include paint, water, and other sources of contamination. We are currently contemplating enhancing funding opportunities for current HUD grant recipients statewide, but also building infrastructure in 1-2 new areas to increase the regions in Pennsylvania ready and able to assist in lead remediation efforts moving forward. Funding will also be made available for training and certification to increase the number of individuals who are EPA-certified to complete lead remediation in areas where there are shortages of individuals to do this work.The plan is to have the program operational next state fiscal year. With a $4 million state investment, $10 million in federal dollars could be leveraged annually for an annual total of $14 million to support efforts around lead remediation.Transferring PENNVEST Grant FundsLegislation recently passed in Congress allows a state to transfer amounts from its clean water state revolving fund to its drinking water state revolving fund in order to address a threat to public health as a result of heightened exposure to lead in drinking water. Specifically, a state may transfer no more than 5 percent of the cumulative amount of the federal grant dollars awarded for its clean water state revolving fund to its drinking water state revolving fund. It also requires that states coordinate with EPA to get their buy-in for the transfer.By taking advantage of this new flexibility, PENNVEST may be able to free up to $90 million for Pennsylvania to address lead in drinking water by providing grants for lead service line replacement statewide. The amount transferred will not have a negative impact on future projects that could have been funded with that money and will be determined based on the amount of available dollars at the time the program begins.PENNVEST has proposed to spend the next year working with communities to identify shovel-ready projects that can then be funded in 2021. Potential grant recipients will need to do testing, feasibility studies, and other consulting work next year to prep for projects.Convening Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program Grant RecipientsThe Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program helps communities address housing-related health and safety hazards, in addition to lead-based paint hazards through the Lead Hazard control and Healthy Homes grants. The state, as well as several local communities, received notice of $22.5 million in funding awards in late September 2019. All recipients will target funds towards homes for low and very-low income families with children and will work with medical and social service providers.At the most recent lead roundtable hosted by the commonwealth, the request was made for the state to convene all Pennsylvania recipients to ensure collaboration in implementation – a project the Department of Health is working to implement in the coming weeks under the direction of Gov. Wolf.Implementing Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water GrantAuthorized under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grant creates a program to assist with voluntary testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs. The grant opportunity was announced in 2018 and applications were due this year however, award notices have not yet been issued.Pennsylvania submitted a grant application, which included the support of PENNVEST and the departments of education, environmental protection, health, and human services. If awarded, approximately $1.7 million in funds will be used to develop and implement a lead testing program in schools and child care facilities throughout the state. This testing will include the prioritization of facilities serving younger children (ages 6 and under), underserved and low-income communities, and facilities that are older and more likely to contain lead plumbing.Funding will support the testing of 3,000 schools and child care facilities.Gov. Wolf was joined by Sen. Vincent Hughes and Rep. Jason Dawkins, who provided remarks, as well as numerus other legislators and advocates in support of these budget proposals.“Far too much of Pennsylvania is toxic and unsafe as a result of lead and asbestos,” Sen. Hughes said. “Our homes, childcare centers, and schools suffer from serious disrepair and long-term neglect. Thank you, Gov. Wolf, for making a significant financial commitment to clean up these vital, necessary and fundamental places in our community. We intend to win on your proposal and to use that victory to propel us to a long-term even more robust investment.”“I’m inspired by the plan and bold leadership that the Governor has displayed today with this announcement,” Sen. Jay Costa said. “Children across the state have been exposed to dangerous chemicals and crumbling facilities for years, and we know that it impacts their physical and mental health for their entire lives. Governor Wolf’s programs outlined today will save future generations of children from these problems.”“The unhealthy dangers of lead contamination are proven without any doubt, and lawmakers should enthusiastically support the governor’s initiative,” said Rep. Frank Dermody. “It will make a critical difference in many thousands of lives.”“Our children deserve to learn and our teachers deserve to teach in schools that don’t make them sick,” Rep. Jason Dawkins said. “This is something that we can all agree on. But for far too long, our children, teachers and anyone else who has entered school buildings in Philadelphia have literally taken their own lives in their hands. Why? Because often lead and asbestos were lurking inside. My delegation colleagues and I are overjoyed at the news that Gov. Wolf will be making investments in lead and asbestos remediation projects in our schools. Finally, we can take the steps to make our school buildings safe places to learn and to teach.”Gov. Wolf first introduced his Lead-Free PA initiative in August 2019 to call attention to the need for a law requiring universal blood level testing of children according to federal guidelines, and to convene regional task forces to address specific local needs.A Lead-Free PA task force convened in December to gather the input of communities and their partners toward compiling a complete list of needs so that funding, when allocated, goes directly to programs and initiatives that produce swift and measurable results toward protecting Pennsylvanians.“Together, these programs have the potential to assist thousands of Pennsylvanians with living healthier lives free of lead and asbestos danger,” Gov. Wolf said. “We have the opportunity to correct the past, and to build a brighter future. Pennsylvania should be a place free of lead and asbestos.” January 29, 2020center_img Gov. Wolf Announces Billion-Dollar Plan to Fix Toxic Schools, Address Lead Across Pennsylvanialast_img read more

Unattainable ‘Great Australian Dream’ to blame for stuck-at-home generation, Corelogic survey finds

first_imgZachary Jamieson has just bought his first house at the age of 21. Pic Darren England.MORE than 60 per cent of Queenslanders living with their parents say they can’t afford to fly the family nest, according to a new survey on housing affordability.Home ownership is increasingly out of reach, but nine out of 10 Queenslanders are still holding on to the great Australian dream, the Galaxy Research survey commissioned by property data firm, Corelogic, reveals.The survey of 2000 Australians aged between 18 and 64 found a growing proportion of younger generations are finding themselves trapped in the family home — increasingly into their 30s — as they try to scrape together a deposit.Nationally, 1 in 5 millenials expect to be locked out of the property market until at least their 30th birthday.But Queenslanders still living at home are the most motivated to move out and buy, with nearly half saving money towards a deposit.The survey found getting the deposit was one of the biggest impediments to buying a home, with a third of Australians admitting they could not manage 10 per cent.It comes as the nation’s biggest mortgage insurer this week raised concerns about industry pressure on borrowers to have larger deposits.Genworth Mortgage Insurance said home buyers were scraping together deposits with forms of “unsecured debt”, such as parental guarantees — something Zachary Jamieson has taken advantage of.HOW MUCH OF A DEPOSIT CAN FIRST HOME BUYERS AFFORD?13% no deposit35% could put down 1-9%27% could put down 10-19%18% could put down over 20%(Source: Corelogic)The 21-year-old saved for a year for a deposit for his first home while living with his father, but ended up asking him to act as a guarantor for a loan.“I only had to pay a small amount of rent while I was living there, so it did make all the difference,” he said.“I definitely wanted to get into the market early because I could see myself getting comfortable and just staying there forever.”He bought a two-bedroom home in Waterford West for $255,000 a month ago and now spends half his weekly wage on mortgage repayments.“It’s just a matter of staying on top of it and making sure you’re budgeting in a smart fashion,” he said.GETTING A DEPOSIT AN IMPEDIMENT TO AFFORDING A HOME48% = Qld47% = WA46% = Tas44% = Vic42% = NSW42% = SA/NT38% = ACT(Source: Corelogic)Ray White Waterford principal Kate Handley said about 30 per cent of her agency’s clients were first home buyers and it was becoming more common for them to seek financial assistance or guarantees from parents to get on the property ladder.She said it was still common for first home buyers to be priced out of the market by investors competing for the same property.“It’s really disappointing for them and we see it happen a lot,” she said.When it comes to housing affordability, the Corelogic survey found 60 per cent of Queenslanders believe it is worse than it was last year and just as many expect it to worsen further next year.CONCERN ABOUT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY71% = ACT68% = NSW66% = Vic63% = Tas60% = Qld56% = SA/NT44% = WA(Source: Corelogic)Corelogic’s director of research Tim Lawless said that was significant given home values had increased substantially more in NSW and Victoria than in Queensland.“Income growth is lower in Queensland, which is probably one of the reasons behind the more pessimistic outlook,” he said.But it’s not just would-be first home buyers who are struggling.The research also reveals 12 per cent of Queensland homeowners are having difficulty paying their mortgage — the second highest number in the country after Tasmania.WHICH STATES ARE STRUGGLING MOST WITH MORTGAGE STRESS?Tas = 13%Qld = 12%WA = 12%SA/NT = 8%Vic = 6%More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home5 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor5 hours agoNSW = 5%ACT = 4%(Source: Corelogic)And this figure would jump to 28 per cent if interest rates increased by up to 1 per cent.The younger generation is the most vulnerable when it comes to mortgage stress.If interest rates rose by up to 1 per cent, 35 per cent of millennials claim they would struggle to keep up with mortgage repayments.“A lot of affordability challenges are embedded with the millennial generation,” Mr Lawless said.He was surprised the survey found 96 per cent of Australian millenials thought owning a home was important.“I thought attitudes among younger generations had changed a little bit and the desire for home ownership had dissipated,” he said.Ahead of the federal budget being handed down on Tuesday, respondents revealed what they believe could be done to improve housing affordability.Three quarters of Queenslanders think removing or reducing stamp duty would help, while a majority also think more jobs should be created in areas that have lower priced housing.STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING AFFORDABILITY73% — Reduce or remove stamp duty72% — Reduce or remove stamp duty for first home buyers71% — Create government grants or concessions for first home buyers65% — Create more jobs in areas with lower priced housing63% — Appoint a federal housing minister to improve affordability61% — Improve transport options and commuting60% — Release more vacant land57% — Limits on investment buying via regulation57% — Reduce costs paid by developers to build new homes53% — Build apartments close to major work centres51% — Reduce overseas migrants arriving in Australia(Source: Corelogic)“In reality it’s a federal, state and local government issue and involves each of those layers of government working together to manage housing demand and deliver appropriate housing supply, and ensure supply is connected with efficient transport infrastructure,” Lawless said.And he said there were conflicting interests in each layer of government.“When you look at the level of dwelling supply in southeast Queensland, there has been quite a bias towards dense stock which has outnumbered detached dwellings,” he said.“High rise apartments are more skewed towards investor demand, yet you’ll find the vast majority of first home buyers are young families.”The full Corelogic report can be found at www.corelogic.com.au/housingaffordability.last_img read more

2015 IMCA point season ends on Sept. 27

first_imgVINTON, Iowa – The 2015 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season for seven sanctioned divisions ends on Sunday, Sept. 27.Final races are scheduled that day for Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Eagle Motorsports RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Mach-1 Sport Compacts.Bonus points for applicable track and/or special series champi­onships will be figured and national champions and rook­ies of the year announced as soon as possible.Local track officials will have until noon Central Standard Time on Monday, Oct. 26 to notify IMCA of corrections that affect their top 15 point standings before all standings for those divisions become official.Final weekly events for the 2015 IMCA Late Model point season will be Sunday, Aug. 30.The national champion and unofficial state and local track champions will be announced as soon as all race reports from that weekend are received and tabulated.Late Model point standings become official at noon CST on Monday, Sept. 28.Any questions about IMCA point totals and standings should be directed to Virginia Lindsey, director of membership and points, at vlindsey@imca.com or by calling 319 472-2201, ext. 215.last_img read more